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An Open Letter on Masking to the Dutchess County Executive

Dear Mr. Marc Molinaro,

I must say that I’m terribly disappointed in your recent pronouncement that Dutchess County will not enforce the New York State mask mandate. It was, in my opinion, an extremely short-sighted and harmful act on your part.

Of course, we all know that the county doesn’t have the resources to fully enforce the mandate. But by announcing publicly that the county will not enforce it, you are preventing businesses from effectively enforcing it. Just this morning, my hairdresser expressed her frustration that she can’t keep herself, her business partners, nor her customers safe against someone who refuses to mask up (despite the sign on the door) because they interpreted your pronouncement as “Dutchess County residents are exempt from the state mask mandate.” This is just one of many small business owners who need backup from their government in order to keep themselves, their families, their employees, and their customers safe. 

Many people get away with speeding because there aren’t enough police to enforce the speed limit. Shall we announce that “we will not enforce the speed limit”? Let’s give up on mandating recycling, because we don’t have enough people to go through everyone’s garbage to make sure some people aren’t throwing away things that should be recycled. Let’s not collect taxes, because some people cheat and the IRS can’t audit everyone. 

You are setting up the same kind of hostile situation that exists in Washington, where members of one party block any attempt by members of the other party to accomplish anything positive, just because they are of a different party.

While we have disagreed on many issues, I had always thought you were a reasonable and compassionate man. I am rethinking that assessment. Again, I am angry and disappointed.

Marc Molinaro has responded to this piece on the writer’s personal Facebook page, which interested readers can access here.

The River is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newsroom.