Security Risking Their Lives for Mask Enforcement

Security Risking Their Lives for Mask Enforcement

What We Know: The benefits of wearing a face mask

Health authorities have made recommendations to wear masks in public and at work to prevent exposure to COVID-19. However, there has been conflicting information that has created confusion about the changing requirements and the benefits of wearing a mask. In February, the US Surgeon General told Americans to “stop buying masks” because they allegedly would not protect users from infection, and that healthcare workers needed them first. On the contrary, in April, the CDC changed it’s guidance to recommend people cover their faces in “public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

What we know is that researchers are advising that using homemade masks or purchasing non-medical masks still seem to reduce the transmissibility of the virus by reducing the transmission of infected droplets. However, surgical and homemade masks are not as effective as the N95 masks worn by healthcare workers at filtering the virus. For this reason, a number of doctors, scientists and public health experts are calling for universal masking in indoor public spaces and outdoor crowded spaces.

What True or False about face masks?

The CDC, medical doctors and scientist have made several attempts to debunk the rumors about face masks. There are a number of myths and false claims that have been circulating the Internet and media. Below are a few that may help clear up some misunderstanding.

Fact Check: I’m not sick, I don’t need to wear a face mask.

Wearing a face mask decreases the spread of COVID-19. Research now has shown that a significant number of people with COVID-19 lack symptoms. These people are transmitting the virus to others while they talk, sneeze, cough, sing, or shout. You should wear a mask to protect others and they should wear mask to protect you.

Fact Check: Ear Loop Masks –including homemade masks – offer protection against COVID-19.

While ear loop and cloth face masks do not protect the wearer from contracting COVID-19, they do protect against spread to others. Common sense also suggests that some protection is better than none. The overall number of droplets in the air is reduced when more people wear masks and this reduces exposure risk.

Fact Check: Wearing a face mask may cause hypoxia, hypoxemia, or hypercapnia.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence to suggest that the general public will experience a reduction in oxygen that is significant enough to cause difficulty breathing or hypoxemia, or hypercapnia. For many years, health care providers have worn masks for extended periods of time with no adverse health reactions. Carbon dioxide will freely diffuse though your mask as you breathe.

While masks may be uncomfortable for some, adequate oxygen is able to enter in order to breathe effectively. For the general public, wearing and breathing in a mask takes some getting used to. We suggest trying a variety of masks to find the one most comfortable and suitable for your daily use that is used effectively in covering the nose and mouth. You can also try to limit your talking and breathe though your nose to reduce humidity levels in your mask.

Fact Check: If I’m wearing a mask, I don’t need to practice social distancing. 

Wearing a mask is only one step in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. In additional to wearing a mask, everyone should continue to practice recommended behaviors such as physical distancing six feet apart from others, limit in-person meetings, wash your hands with soap often, stay at home if feeling unwell, and get tested if you have symptoms.

Fact Check: Disposable masks are reversible.

Medical experts and a manufacturer say disposable face masks should always be worn with the wired edge upward and the colored side outward. Remember to wash your hands before and after you wear it to avoid touching it once it’s on your face. Cloth face coverings should be washed after each wearing.

Fact Check: Face masks can be unsafe for children under 2 years of age.

Young children should not wear face masks. Keep in mind choking or strangulation hazards may apply. Also wearing a face mask may cause your child to touch their face more frequently than not wearing it. For more information, check the guidelines provided by American Academy of Pediatrics.

Fact Check: Can stores require mask wearing? 

Yes, stores and businesses can require consumers to wear masks. Face coverings can be required by state or local ordinance. Business can be fined or shut down for not following the ordinance on mask wearing.  

For more information and to clarify any fact checks shared above, please refer to the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Mayo Clinic Health System. Make sure you are researching reputable sources when searching to clarify concerns you may have or share with others. While security are not medical experts, we refer to information provided by medical experts so we can help work through concerns the public expresses in opposition to wearing a face mask.

Who's Enforcing Mask Requirements?

Americans are navigating the conflicting national and local guidance on masks.  As states go through waves of reopening, the new mask requirements in public spaces has led to tension between those enforcing the requirements and the opponents who are refusing to wear a mask.

  • A Target employee in California broke his arm after trying to remove two customers refusing to wear masks.
  • In San Antonio, the police discussed of an incident where a man who was told he could not board a public bus without a mask shot a passenger. The man was arrested and the passenger taken to the hospital.
  • In Illinois, the president of Illinois Retail Merchants, Rob Karr, compiled a list of incidents that took place within 48 hours of the May 1 mandatory mask guideline. One customer threatened to get a gun from his car and shoot a worker insisting that he wear a mask. Several employees were verbally abused and others were physically assaulted.
  • In Flint, Michigan, a security guard at a Family Dollar store was shot and killed after a dispute with a disgruntled customer over wearing a face mask. 

Like a revolving scene, we see numerous video accounts of workers in a tense exchange with a customer who refuses to wear a mask while insisting on entering the premises or being served. These confrontations are happening at grocery stores, retailers and shopping centers, medical clinics, and hospitals, endangering staff. As a result, many businesses have been reluctant to properly enforce health guidelines, or confront customers who refuse to wear a mask or maintain a safe distance from others.

Mask requirements have become the latest hot button issue in the fight against COVID-19. Retailers, grocery, and front-line employees shouldn’t have to deal with security related issues relating to mask disputes. Business owners do not want their employees involved in confrontations because it puts them at risk. It can be overwhelming and a minefield for employees to handle the various disputes and escalations. It is a disturbance that bothers employees and other customers. Even more, smaller retailers feel especially vulnerable in balancing the need for safety, as they also need to revive their bottom line. Workers are putting themselves in harm’s way to generate sales so it’s a slippery slope and a moral challenge for many.  

A great solution for businesses is to hire a reputable security company with personnel who are trained and equipped to handle disgruntled customers. Due to the high risk, it is crucial that businesses hire security to address additional issues arising from mask enforcement. The reason, security is trained for these scenarios.

It is clear that the job of security has a certain amount of risk. Protecting people and property means there will be instances when you run up against someone who is not behaving appropriately. When this happens, security must act promptly to protect others and the property to which they are assigned.

Sometimes security may receive some negative attention from the media because of a pseudo-law enforcement role. Security can be placed in challenging circumstances that call for law enforcement to intervene. However, this is used when absolutely necessary because security typically resolves escalations before they become a matter for law enforcement. In matters that involve criminal activity, or a threat to the safety or life of others, law enforcement becomes essential.

In addition, security officers are using their skills in acts of heroism.

  • Thomas Elio, a campus security officer, performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student and saved his life.
  • Security officer Cory Lapp saved the life of a man experiencing a heart attack at a Buffalo racetrack.
  • Security officer Richard Williamson sacrificed his life to save teens and families at a Southern California roller rink in 2014.

These are just a few stories of many.

The security industry attracts people who spring into action despite the dangers including veterans, paramedics and EMT’s, firefighters and former police officers. Some security officers are your local community members that want to protect their own community and keep their city or establishments safe. They are accustomed to helping others so it’s no wonder you will find stories of heroic acts. Many security personnel have a high moral compass with an instinct for doing good for others. Connections built with community members, employees, and first-responders allow security to function effectively with a mutual respect for one another.

In recent months through the pandemic, security quickly adapted to enforcing new guidelines and the changing needs of businesses. Security is checking temperatures, providing a calm and safe environment for customers, and risking their lives over mask requirement disputes. Let’s be clear, no life is worth losing over mask enforcement! Training in prevention, de-escalations and employee support reduces the risks involved in potential disputes while allowing staff to continue to perform their job duties in a safe environment.

Taurus Protection Inc. provides consultations and has security service options for you to choose from. Our goal is to maintain a healthy and safe environment that everyone can be pleased with. We understand the difficult moral conflict and health concerns during this pandemic, and remain sensitive to public concerns regarding mask enforcement.We continue to keep up to date with the CDC, news and reports to maintain current guidelines and adapt to changes. We are in this together so we know how important it is to work as a strong team with our communities.

For more information on how our professional team can address your concerns, contact us today. We are happy to serve you!

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