A video that shows people in Staten Island screaming “get out” to a customer not wearing a mask went viral on May 25. The viral clip, shared by Twitter user McAuley Holmes, had more than 360,000 views.
Holmes did not film the video. He told Heavy that he found it on Reddit and then posted it to Twitter.
Holmes said he had “mixed feelings” about the video. “From what I can see in the video it seems there aren’t employees of the store involved in removing the shopper,” Holmes told Heavy.
“Obviously private businesses have the right to refuse service to non-mask wearers, but a group of shoppers is different. Masks are important in stopping the spread and wearing one is a sign of respect to others,” he continued. “It’s understandable that people would be so serious about community enforcement in a place like Staten Island that has been hit so hard by COVID.”
Should People Wear a Mask in Grocery Stores?
In the comments under the post, of which there were hundreds, people discussed if they should be forced to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic. Holmes posed the same question to Twitter users, writing: “Should people engage in this type of social pressure to enforce mask-wearing or social distancing as a community?”
Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright was one of the thousands of people who shared the video. He noted that Staten Island has been hard hit by the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 100,000 Americans. As reported by SILive.com, nearly 800 residents in Staten Island have died from the virus.
“Staten Island is NYC’s most conservative borough. 56.05% voted for Trump in 2016. Population of 476,143 people and almost 800 confirmed COVID dead to this point,” he tweeted. “Extrapolated over the U.S. population that’s about 550,000 dead. So nah, they ain’t havin it.”
Scientists Say Masks Help Stop the Spread of Coronavirus
It’s recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear a mask, but as noted by Jeremy Howard, Distinguished Research Scientist, University of San Francisco, it’s only a requirement in 12 states.
COVID-19 is spread through droplets. “We can see directly that a piece of cloth blocks those droplets and the virus those droplets contain. People without symptoms who don’t even know they are sick are responsible for around half of the transmission of the virus,” Howard wrote for The Conversation. “We should all wear masks.”
In New York, all residents must wear a mask when they cannot social distance. It doesn’t have to be a medical mask. A scarf or bandana can be used as long as it covers the nose and mouth.
“If you are not sick, you should wear a face-covering whenever you need to leave home and might be closer than 6 feet from others,” the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says. “Examples include riding the subway, ferry, or bus; riding in a taxi or car service; walking on a busy street; going to pharmacies and grocery stores; and going to the doctor or a hospital.”