Letters to the Editor: What’s the point of mask mandates without penalties?

People wear masks at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
People wear masks as they wait to ride the SkyStar Wheel at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Aug. 22.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a retired physician, I heartily agree that we need nationwide mask mandates, but ones that are actually enforced and not just issued as guidelines.

Mask mandates have been in effect in various areas throughout this pandemic, but adherence has been abysmal. A system of significant fines with the penalty increasing with each offense would promote adherence. We have similar systems in place for speeding, driving under the influence and other traffic infractions.

Not wearing a mask is not a right, and it is potentially just as dangerous as speeding or drunk driving, for which we have penalties. A mask requirement is no more an infringement on my rights as the laws that say I must wear clothing in public.


Bob Herstoff, MD, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Your editorial says that masks are an important tool for curbing the coronavirus pandemic.

This week in the Wall Street Journal, which is certainly a respected media publication, there was an op-ed article from a UCLA physician claiming there has been “unjustified attention to masking.” The writer said that the promotion of face masks hinders the fight against the coronavirus.

In this case of conflicting recommendations, is it the conservative-leaning press that is the source of the fake news that President Trump screams about?

Michael Ernstoff, Los Angeles


To the editor: Recently I was appalled to see what appeared to be a “super-spreader event” taking place at my local Costco. I was there merely for the hearing center, but I could not believe the lack of social distancing, of monitoring customer flow or the limited availability of hand sanitizer.

So many people packed into lines, clogging up the way out of the building with baskets overflowing with products.

Corporations, including big-box chains, have a responsibility to enforce safety measures as they did at the beginning of the pandemic, or the virus will continue to surge with or without Dodger fans holding parties.

Linda Poverny, Santa Monica


To the editor: Could it be that some people who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance are the same ones pushing for schools, businesses and sports to resume face-to-face operations? If so, they are delaying the very things they want.

As Pogo Possum, the cartoon character drawn by Walt Kelly, said in 1971, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Wendell H. Jones, Ojai