I am a 71-year-old Michigan pastor. I read all your articles on lewrockwell.com and am in full agreement. My wife and I have been married over 50 years; we trust in God and are not afraid of the coronavirus. I haven’t believed any of the government/media propaganda from day one. The best way to fight off a virus is to stay healthy. Governments love crises and want to take away our natural God-given liberties.
Our church has continued to worship in person every Lord’s day as we have for the last 31 years. Almost no one wears a face mask, and nobody in our congregation has gotten Covid. We give the glory to God, not to our cleverness.
I do not wear a mask outdoors or at the grocery store. I do not go to stores that have a no-exceptions mask policy.
My wife had knee replacement surgery recently. I was not allowed to go with her to her doctor appointments because of Covid restrictions. We were forced to wear masks at the hospital and at her physical therapy.
Tomorrow we will visit my mother-in-law at her nursing home. We haven’t been able to visit her except outdoors 10 feet away or standing outside her window. She hasn’t had a hug from a family member for over a year. But now the governor is relaxing restrictions. We will have to stay in our car and receive a Covid test; if we test negative we will be allowed to visit but must wear both a mask AND a face shield. I will submit to this indignity only for my mother-in-law.
Any ideas for how to get into doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes without a face mask?
ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη
Dear Pastor Peace,
Thank you for this wonderful note, and thank you for keeping your church open.
The question you ask is well described in my book Face Masks in One Lesson. It outlines why one should never wear a mask and how to do that easily, safely, ethically, and legally.
Below I’ll offer a few pointers for your specific situation and I will try to make it quick.
1.) Have a look at the policy that applies to you
Read the state policy on face masks (which should be easy to search for “state name” AND “face mask policy”)
Read the county order (which should be easy to search for “county name” AND “face mask policy”). You will want to find the PDF of the actual signed order and not media coverage of the order, nor a press release. Secondary sources, as you know in your line of work, tend to leave out important details from the primary.
Read the local establishment’s policy. This may not be searchable and may not be online. I usually do this by calling the establishment and saying “I’d like to come by this afternoon. I see you have a face mask policy. I’m unable to wear a face mask safely. What can you do for you me?” to begin the discussion. That may be enough to have the discussion that lets you in the door unmasked.
2.) Keep your private matters private
If asked why you can’t wear a face mask safely, I encourage you to say “That’s a private matter, and I would prefer not to speak about that.” If you have still not been accommodated, then you can say “Can you send me a copy of your written face mask exemption policy?”
3.) They may defer to county orders
The larger an institution, the more likely it is to have an official policy. The smaller the institution, the more likely it is to have no written policy and to say “We follow the county orders.”
That means different things to different people. Sometimes they have never read the county orders at all, and the policy they really follow is the headlines in the newspaper or chyrons across the TV screen. Whether they watch Fox or read The New York Times, the chyrons and headlines are equally likely to be salacious and unhelpful to you in communicating what the details of the orders actually say.
If they say that though, you are fortunate, because every local face mask order is supposed to have clear exemptions in them for those who cannot wear a mask safely. You just need to identify and invoke them. “I am unable to wear a face mask safely,” usually takes care of that.
4.) No one can wear a face mask safely
I’m not asking you to lie when you say “I’m unable to wear a face mask safely.”
After the many studies of 2020, I wonder if anyone can wear a face mask safely, whether for 20 minutes or 20 hours. The devices are not safe for use in the general public.
5.) Michigan is a special case
You are doubly fortunate because you are in Michigan. The state face mask policy permits and encourages businesses to adopt an honor code around mask orders. If someone in Michigan says “I am unable to wear a face mask safely,” businesses are encouraged under the state face mask order to honor that claim by the person making the statement, rather than asking for clarification or a doctor’s note.
Michigan has such a pro-freedom contingency that this policy has been included in the official order. This speaks volumes about the state. No matter how tyrannical the governor, these mask mandates at the state level have giant loopholes that have been influenced by that pro-freedom contingency.
6.) Religious exemption
As a pastor you may also be interested in knowing that no one is to be punished in the state of Michigan for not masking up in a house of worship. It’s a shame that such crumbs on the table are even worthy of mention in the land of the free and home of the brave, but Michigan stands out in this way as having a face mask order that is particularly full of exemptions.
I suspect few in the local media have pointed this out and that few local politicians have pointed this out. Full compliance seems to be a more pressing narrative. If you read the Michigan order, or any order for that matter, you tend to find wide exemptions that anyone interested in invoking can easily invoke to go unmasked.
7.) This process works very well
Thousands of readers of LRC have recognized that even outside of Michigan, very few people are denied when they use this process and make that statement.
This should be very helpful in getting in to the nursing home or in to visit your wife at the doctor, but a slightly different approach may be needed with your own doctor, an approach which I will leave for another time for the sake of brevity.
8.) Make the statement away from the compliance checkpoint
It’s very important that the statement not be made at the compliance checkpoint, where tensions may run high, but it should instead be made on the phone beforehand with a supervisor who is more likely to be aware of exemptions and able to honor them.
9.) What is their exemption policy around face shields?
Some people also cannot wear a face shield safely. If a face shield is still required of such people, it is worth noting that the above steps also apply to face shields and to all alternate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
10.) What is their exemption to the Covid test?
As for the notoriously unreliable Covid test, I would not take it. I don’t want to be deemed a false positive. It comes with stigma, social impact, and individual psychological impact.
I have no question that some people I have encountered have convinced themselves they were sick after a false positive Covid test, despite being 100% healthy for months until the Covid results came, and only hours later taking to bed as their thoughts started to spin out of control.
It may be hard for some to react any differently to a false positive, or to an asymptomatic positive. There’s risk to subjecting yourself to this bad use of science and putting yourself under the influence of a trillion dollar media machine that has pumped unprecedented fear into the air for more than a year.
If it must be taken, a less invasive saliva test is preferable. Alternately, one may find success blowing the mucus of your nasal passage onto a Kleenex that you then invite them to swab.
I strongly discourage the introduction of a swab to the back of your nasal passage, as is being done en masse. It’s inappropriately invasive, much as the new suggestion of anal swabs for Covid is inappropriately invasive.
Any sample needed for testing can be collected with your own hands and without being invasive.
11.) Your finesse, compassion, perseverance, and tenacity is the key to making this all work
Covid tests are under an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. No one is to be forced to take one. Face masks are as well. The mRNA shot is as well. EUAs are not granted without that being clear. You are legally in the right about all of this. Being right is only part of the battle.
Now, it is your job to approach this situation with finesse and compassion to make this all work for you. Be sure to know what you want out of the conversations you are having and bring a lot of compassion for your conversation partner.
Everyone is in a tough situation right now, and you just need to convince them to do the right thing, even if they want to do the easy thing, or even if they think something else is the right thing. Finesse and compassion go a long way.
12.) I wouldn’t be surprised if..
I wouldn’t be surprised if you wrote me tomorrow saying “Your technique worked great. We went for that visit with no mask, no face shield, and no test.”
Thank you for writing. I wish you well with your visit. Please let me know how it goes.
For anyone reading this who isn’t sure how to get through the day 100% unmasked, I’ve written the bestselling “Face Masks in One Lesson,” I have a year’s worth of LewRockwell.com essays on the topic, and I have a newsletter and classes on that topic at RealStevo.com. Ultimately, as with Pastor Peace, it comes down to being able to stand your ground with finesse and compassion.
The post How To Visit a Doctor’s Office or Nursing Home Without Face Masks appeared first on LewRockwell.