In the News: Please Wear a Mask by Justine Vogel

Please Wear a Mask, December 22, 2020, New Hampshire Voices, by RiverWoods Group CEO, Justine Vogel

OUR STATE MOTTO is “live free or die,” and I respect that. It speaks to diversity of thought and the importance of individuality and self-determination. But here is the thing: when General John Stark penned that toast in 1809 he was talking about the Revolutionary War, not a global pandemic.

I firmly believe in individual freedoms. I also believe we are citizens of a great state and of a great nation. Being afforded the benefit of living here also burdens us with the responsibility of being good citizens, of giving a little more than we take. “Good citizen” may be defined differently by different people, but right now there is one easy and obvious action we can all take to be a good citizen: Wear a mask. Like all the time. It’s not hard. You slip the straps over your ears and cover your mouth and nose. That’s all there is to it. And for that simple act you drastically reduce the risk of transmitting or receiving the coronavirus.

More than 27,000 of our fellow New Hampshire citizens have contracted the virus since March, and it has killed 570 of us. Mothers and daughters and sons and fathers and husbands and wives. 570 deaths are 570 too many.

The virus is wily. It is silent and blind and then loud and aggressive. And right now, it is spreading like wildfire in our state. We were doing really well this summer, but let’s admit it… we got comfortable and lazy. We were around too many people, we took too many risks, and we didn’t always wear our masks. Fighting the virus is hard. It is killing people. It is killing the very people committed to others’ health — our health care workers. My friends and colleagues are fighting against it every day, risking their own personal health and safety to help ensure the health and safety of others. It is heroic work, and yet we are making it harder for them every time we don’t wear a mask. Why?

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