To the editor:
I was not surprised to see that the recent letter writer to the editor who called for an end to wearing a mask on Newburyport’s boardwalk was a visitor to Newburyport instead of a resident.
In fact, I can confidently say that most people I see without a mask are visitors who are not complying with the suggestion to wear one while walking the waterfront or downtown.
The majority of residents are doing their part, the visitors are not. So, unfortunately, the time has come to enforce mask wearing. All of us need to wear a mask for the brief amount of time we spend walking the waterfront and downtown or pay a consequence.
Enforcement needs to happen and our signage needs to communicate compliance is mandatory, even if it is at the expense of not being so polite. Buskers need to encourage compliance by wearing a mask themselves or face losing their permits.
Many other communities have imposed a fine, and Newburyport should be among them, especially given the number of people that come into our city every day — perhaps abandoning the rules of social distancing and mask wearing imposed on them by the cities from which they came.
During the flotilla a few weekends ago, the boardwalk swelled with people and the vast majority dismissed the polite suggestion on the sandwich board signs to wear a mask.
An unmasked street busker sat on a boardwalk bench all day singing, and when asked, claimed he can’t perform with a mask on.
Even three of the four police officers (albeit Salisbury) on the Gillis Bridge working crowd-control duty spent three hours among the maskless crowds watching the parade from the bridge without masks themselves.
While there are many benefits, there are also many sacrifices we make as citizens to live in a tourist town, and ensuring our good health should not be one of them.
Please help us by reducing the opportunities for COVID to spread in our town. Please let our visitors know that we stand firm as a city who will enforce mask wearing.
Please put on a mask or pay a price so we don’t have to pay an altogether different price by compromising our health and safety.