Why the controversy

over face masks?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Restaurants warn that no shirt and no shoes means no service. Seat belts must be worn on aircraft during takeoff and landing. Ballparks do not allow beer sales after the seventh inning. Clothing stores allow no more than five items in the changing room. And no cell phone use is permitted during a movie.

These and dozens of other restrictions on our personal freedoms are common and lawful. We accept them without question when entering the private property of another.

Why then is there a controversy about wearing a face mask in a place of business?

In basic legal terms, a store owner grants a revocable license to anyone entering private property. When the customer breaks the conditions of the license, say, by talking on a cellphone during a movie, the individual is subject to lawful removal. The license to be present on the owner's premises has been revoked for violating the terms of the license.

While we all woke up in a free country this morning, that does not mean we have a constitutional right to service when we have on neither shoes nor shirts. There is no guaranteed freedom to ignore seat belt rules. The Bill of Rights does not give anyone the right to bring 20 items into the changing room. The repeal of Prohibition does not guarantee you a cold beer in the ninth inning.

For all the angry, self-centered, folks out there not wearing masks, it's time to respect the law. In requiring a face mask, store owners are not denying you your rights; they are enforcing theirs. And for heaven's sake, do not take out your ill-placed anger on the poor employee charged with enforcing the rules. You've lived with "no shoes, no shirt, no service" your entire life without complaint. Let us add face masks to that list and restore a little civility.

Michael Sainsbury.

Powhatan.

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