Glenn Friedman of the Village of Duval rarely ventures out these days because of concerns about the Coronavirus.
“My wife is ill right now and under treatment. I cannot afford to bring home a virus of any kind,” he said.
During his rare trips out of the house, he always wears a mask. He wishes others would do the same.
“About 40 percent of this virus was caused by people without virus symptoms, so those of you without masks may be spreading a virus that you don’t even know you have. On that basis alone, you should show respect for your fellow Villagers by wearing a mask whenever you may be around people. If you don’t, shame on you,” Friedman said.
He is among the many Villagers reacting to the decision to relax the policy on masks at Villages recreation facilities from “required” to “requested.”
That policy decision has left many Villagers shaking their heads.
“You just can’t fix stupid! Florida continues to appear on the map of 14 states where the number of cases continues to rise! Just incomprehensible,” said Jim Smith of the Village of Silver Lake.
That sentiment was echoed by a Villager who said Florida’s Friendliest Hometown has been fortunate to have avoided the potentially powerful punch of the Coronavirus.
“We here in The Villages have been doing rather well with regard to the virus, partly due to the wearing of face masks. Now is not the time to relax the wearing of face masks. The severe risks of COVID-19 are not over,” said MaryJo Beall of the Village of Tamarind Grove.
Suzanne McGaugh of the Village of Tall Trees agreed that The Villages has done an admirable job of keeping COVID-19 in check. She would hate to see that change.
“The Villages has been good with handling the virus and should not stop now. More people are going to be out and in closer contact and the mask should still be required,” she said.
Village of Caroline resident Linda Gibb is not happy about the change in policy.
“I do not appreciate you changing from masks ‘required’ to masks ‘requested.’ There are too many ignorant people living and visiting here that will think they don’t have to wear one. Who made that stupid decision?” she asked.
Michael Ricci of the Village of Santo Domingo fears the message being sent by the relaxed face mask policy.
“I find it irresponsible of The Villages administration to relax their requirement for masks. In addition, as the economy opens up, more non-residents will be coming into The Villages. These individuals may bring COVID-19 with them from out-of-state regions regarded as hot spots, which pose an additional risk to The Villages’ residents,” he said.
But there are plenty who chafe at the notion of government requiring face masks.
“Go ahead and wear one. That is your choice. But while you have the choice to wear or not wear the mask, do not at the same time take away my choice to not wear a mask or to wear one. Thus, my answer to your question would be this, I DO support the changing of the signs to ‘requested’ vs. ‘required,” said Tammy Glanville of the Village of McClure.