If you’re not wearing a mask at home, or at least considering doing so, then you’re not doing it right.
That’s the message from Nim Kidd, head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
In an interview with San Antonio’s WOAI-TV published Thursday, Kidd said that to stop transmission of the coronavirus, Texans should think about wearing masks inside of the home as well as outside of it.
“We still need people to wear the mask out in public, we still need people to keep social distance and isolation,” Kidd told WOAI’s Ryan Wolf.
“Ryan, the one thing I want to try to get across today is we need to do that when we’re in our homes also.
“As you know, I’m a life-long San Antonian, grew up there, worked there for many years and I know how many multi-generational families that we have,” he added.
“While we believe the community is doing a great job of following the rules when they are outside the home, we really need to be thinking about doing the same thing when we’re inside the home.”
Kidd fell short of saying that wearing masks inside the home would be required, although he certainly seemed to veer close to it. He also wasn’t above using guilt and fear to get you to wear a mask at home, telling Texans to ask themselves what they were bringing back to their families if they were going outside of the house.
“Have you done the things to protect yourself and your family when you’re at home and when you have extended family coming to stay with you, are you doing everything you can to protect them and yourself from this virus?” Kidd said.
The TDEM did not return The Western Journal’s request for comment on the matter in time for publication of this article, but the agency’s chief has been making the rounds over the past few days, as you might expect with a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Lone Star State.
His messaging is, well, a little dire.
“Remember when we had to put out the ‘click it or ticket” in order to get people to wear seatbelts,” Kidd told KXAN-TV. “Now should we look at ‘mask it or casket?’”
Well, you can’t fault him for subtlety.
The messaging comes as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is having trouble enforcing his new mask mandate, which requires Texans to wear masks in public.
“The public needs to understand this was a very tough decision for me to make,” Abbott said of the order. “I made clear that I made this tough decision for one reason: It was our last best effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If we do not slow the spread of COVID-19 the next step would have to be a lockdown.”
“We can’t spend our time running from place to place for calls about mask we can really do nothing about,” Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree wrote in a Facebook post last Saturday. “I won’t and I don’t believe I can take any enforcement action on this order.”
Given the issues enforcing a mask order outside of the home, it’s a wonder that anyone in power in Texas is investing their messaging bandwidth in pushing masks inside the home. While studies indicate it could be effective, a government push for wearing masks at home raises issues of how much of our space is being ceded to government.
The likelihood of some kind of mask order inside the home seems slim — particularly in Texas, where Abbott resisted a mask order until COVID-19 cases in the state shot up dramatically.
However, Nim “Mask it or Casket” Kidd seems determined to make this part of his messaging on the virus.
How, exactly, is this supposed to work? Texans aren’t supposed to kiss until this pandemic is over? Are we supposed to sleep with our masks on when we’re in bed with our spouse? Smiles, conversations, anything like that — we’re just supposed to say goodbye to those for a while?
If you believe Kidd, yes.
“The fact we need to get across is, in order to protect ourselves, we need to protect our families and our loved ones,” he said. “We really need to think about the care that we’re providing inside the home right now to make sure we’re not spreading this inside the home, then making it come outside the home.”
Sounds great, but there’s roughly zero chance this is going to gain wide acceptance.
There are far better ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus than to push wearing masks at home. At a time when counties are struggling to enforce the mask order for people outside the home, it’s a grave failure of messaging to assume people are going to wear one when they’re in their pajamas.
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