Gallatin County residents seem to have picked sides: to wear a mask in public places or not. With tourist season underway and the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases, are we in for trouble?

(Please note: This is an opinion piece based on local, PERSONAL  observation and facts supplied by noted sources. In the interest of avoiding specific "business shaming" or fruitless argument, I decided to leave out business names.)

  • Phase 2 reopening began on Monday, June 1, 2020.
  • As of Thursday, June 18, 2020:
  • Personally, I have continued to limit my shopping, dinning and errands even as businesses are allowed to open up. I'm not hiding in my living room but I'm definitely not as engaged as summertime would normally dictate.
  • I despise wearing a mask when entering any establishment, but I do it. (I haven't sat down to eat in a restaurant, but have ordered take-out several times and wear a mask even to "pop in for just a minute" to grab my order.
  • Garden Center: Employees (2) WERE wearing masks (although one incorrectly). 2 out of 12 customers were wearing masks.
  • Quickie Mart: Employee (1) WAS NOT wearing a mask. 1 out of 4 customers was wearing a mask (me).
  • Downtown Restaurant: I picked up a lunch to-go order. No masks on hosts or servers. No masks on the 3 other groups waiting to pick up food or be seated. (Obviously seated guests wouldn't be wearing masks...the room looked about half full.)
  • Hardware Store: Only one of several employees at checkout was wearing a mask. 2 out of perhaps 12 or 13 customers were wearing masks. No sanitizer for customer use was visible.
  • Large Grocery Store: All employees seemed to be wearing masks. VERY FEW customers were wearing masks. Perhaps 3 out of several dozen. Aisle direction signs often not followed. The one automatic sanitizer dispenser I saw in the entire store was not working.
  • Small Grocery Store: All employees seemed to be wearing masks. MOST customers were wearing masks (I'd guess 75%). No visible hand sanitizer for customers.