Letters to the Editor: Don’t shame people for not wearing masks outdoors. Indoors is where the problems are

Stuart Reyes, 19, and his sister Stephanie Reyes, 16, sell face masks in Inglewood in April.
Stuart Reyes, 19, and his 16-year-old sister Stephanie Reyes sell masks for $5 each in Inglewood in April.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your attempt at mask-shaming by noting how many people at three specific public locations were and were not wearing face coverings ignores scientific evidence and state guidelines.

You were counting masks in the outdoors, including at parks, but did not measure distancing. The website on the state’s order on masks explicitly states that you should wear a face covering outdoors “if you can’t stay 6 feet away from others.”

There is basically no scientific evidence that COVID-19 spreads in these outdoor conditions. Just look at your recent article on the surprisingly low number of cases among homeless people living outdoors.

You should have counted people in gatherings with family or friends, especially indoors, where most spreading occurs. But of course that’s more difficult, whereas it’s easy to shame people strolling through the park.

Insisting that people wear masks when evidence and rules don’t require it actually creates more resistance to compliance where it is truly helpful — indoors and in proximity to others.


Bryan Baker, Apple Valley


To the editor: I am reporting my experience in Santa Clarita. In the last five months I have left my house to go to places of business more than 100 times. On those trips I have seen two people (both women) not wearing masks.

I would estimate that 99.8% of the people I saw were wearing masks. They may not be wearing masks in other parts of Los Angeles County, but they are in Santa Clarita.

Walter Harris, Santa Clarita


To the editor: I was finally able to get an appointment to see my doctor for a regular diabetes check up last week.

When the medical assistant entered to check my vitals, she was wearing a mask but it didn’t cover her nose. I asked her about it and her response was that wearing it correctly fogged up her glasses.

Ten minutes later the doctor arrived and she too was wearing a mask that did not cover her nose. Her reason was that it didn’t matter because she had already had the virus.

If medical professionals don’t take this seriously, how can we expect the general public to?

Ron Garber, Duarte