Do Californians Want Mask Mandates to Come Back?


That distinction has led to a lot of disagreement about what California officials should do during yet another coronavirus wave. And over the past few days, hundreds of you have weighed in.

We have heard from teachers who welcome the return of masks and parents who dread it, from people who have caught the coronavirus multiple times and those who are still avoiding it as best they can.

Here’s a sampling, edited for length and clarity:

“I followed the rules for over a year, but I’m done. I want to smile at people again. I want to be understood when I speak. I want to see other people smile and understand what they say.” — Linda Ledgerwood, Walnut Creek

“I realize that everyone is over the pandemic, nobody enjoys wearing a mask, but shouldn’t we do what we can to protect ourselves and others? My workplace has required masks throughout the pandemic. We are small and cannot afford to have any cases, let alone an outbreak. We have had cases of Covid within our work force, but not one case of workplace transmission. If that doesn’t prove that masking is an effective way to stop the spread, I don’t know what does.” — Jennifer Spindler, Crestline

“I work in a grocery store. Almost none of my fellow crew — and we are mostly nonwhite and working class — wear masks. We are dreading the return of the mandate, which will mean considerable discomfort while on the job.

It’s ineffective and cruel, and punishes the very people — low-wage workers — whom the public health director pretends to want to protect. I’ve had Covid three times. My co-workers have all had it. We fear the mask mandates and fights over masks more than we do the darn virus!” — Hugo Schwyzer, Hawthorne

“Mask mandates should be reinstated whenever there is a surge. Think of it like an umbrella: If it’s raining, we use it; if not, we don’t. Don’t blame the meteorologist.” — David Lewis, San Francisco

“I have been extremely frustrated with the general population of Stanislaus County, where I live, from the beginning of the Covid crisis. There is so much resistance to wearing a simple mask; it makes me very sad. I have a disability, and a good number of my friends and loved ones do, too. I have had people yell at me that I am taking away THEIR right of choice when I ask them to mask up around me, but they don’t seem to understand or care that by being so one-sided in their thought process, they could be taking away my right to life. Where has the pride in doing something for the common good gone?” — Robin Dickinson, Hughson

“I am about to become a grandmother. I am in favor of the mask mandate because it means that I will be able to spend time with my grandchild with far less apprehension about infecting him with the virus before he is old enough to get the vaccine.

I’ve learned to smile with my eyes. And, until this surge slows, that’s what I will continue to do, with or without the mandate. Honestly, it’s such a small ask.” — Sonya Sones, Santa Monica

For more:

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As water restrictions take their toll on Southern California, tell us: What’s going on with your lawn? Are you trying to keep your grass green? Or did the drought prompt you to rip out your grass?

Let us know at [email protected]. Please include your name and location.

In a surprising and welcome revival after an early pandemic slump, more than 300 new independent bookstores have sprouted across the United States in the past couple of years.

And many of the new shops are run by nonwhite booksellers, a major shift in an industry that has long lacked diversity. Among them is the The Salt Eaters Bookshop, a store in Inglewood that specializes in books by and about Black women, girls and nonbinary people.

Allison Hill, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, a trade organization for independent bookstores, told The New York Times that the bookstore resurgence is “kind of shocking when you think about what dire straits the stores were in in 2020.”

“We saw a rally like we’ve never seen before,” Hill said.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Opposite of tight (five letters).

Isabella Grullón Paz and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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