On Friday I ordered a take out pizza from a local pizza parlor here in Fargo. I went into pick up the pizza. It was crowded. Easily there were over 100 people sitting at tables close together, visiting, and acting as if COVID-19 did not exist.

I went into the place wearing a face mask. None of the staff and absolutely none of the customers were wearing masks. Small businesses have to be able to say to their employees and customers it is the law that you wear masks.

Without an executive order or law in place mandating masks, small businesses have been placed in a terrible bind. If they insist on mask wearing, which is the responsible thing to do, they risk antagonizing and losing some customers. On the other hand, if they do business as usual before COVID they are possibly contributing to its spread.

Some say we should allow people to make their choice as to wear masks or not. My wife and I are in our 60s. I have a grandson in school. I have a son and daughter here in Fargo that work full time. We are all at risk for COVID and are not much helped with irresponsible adults who think it is their "choice." Choice, really? Do we allow speeders in active school zones? Certainly not due to the possible dangerous situation with children. Are there not restrictions concerning smoking? Do we not have limitations on use of firearms in urban areas? Of course we have laws and regulations. These are set up for the safety and well being of our citizens.

COVID kills. COVID has long term disabling effects. COVID is highly contagious. Anyone regardless of age can get COVID. Some say it is our right to decide to wear a mask or not. Yes, we have rights, but along with those rights come responsibilities. We cannot, for instance yell fire in a crowded theater. The people are simply not being responsible as evidenced by all of the new cases and high positivity rates.

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Just as we have laws and regulations concerning driving, conceal carry permits, and a host of other issues in order to provide for the safety and well being of our citizens, we need statewide regulations mandating the wearing of masks. We have to get this virus under control. How many more illnesses and deaths will it take? Thank you.