The debate rages on with regard to maskless dancing and drinking at town squares in The Villages.
“It’s all very simple. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you’re mortified about people being outside and enjoying their lives, please feel free to stay home. Everyone needs to do what works best for them. Other than that – mind your own business!” said Villager Kathy Richards.
Elba Bickhart lives on the Historic Side of The Villages and contends that having the squares open has been a blessing.
“It is like we seniors have been put under house arrest, it is time to live and enjoy our Golden Years. To those who feel threatened to be around the square and people not wearing mask, stay your ass home,” she said.
Villager Connie Elliott argues that residents of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown should not have to live in fear.
“The Villages has no responsibility for my health. People risk their lives every day driving, walking, bike riding and traveling. COVID-19 has a 99 percent recovery unless you might have other health issues. If you do, stay home. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Live for today. Many of the people at the square might have already been vaccinated. It’s time to stop living in fear,” she said.
Maryann Raines of the Village of Silver Lake used to frequent the squares almost nightly. She loves to dance and misses it.
“A week ago a friend and I stopped by where Rocky and the Rollers were playing. We stood on the sidewalk. We were distanced from others and were wearing masks. A couple came up and wanted to sit near us. I told her she couldn’t as she had no mask on and would not be distanced. She proceeded to call me selfish! She went further down where no one else would let her in. A woman behind me said, ‘Good for you,’” Raines said.
Margery Greene of the Village of De La Vista North has witnessed similar behavior at the square.
“I have walked through and driven through Spanish Springs with my husband and we both noted the lack of facemasks. I understand if you’re having a drink that you can’t very easily wear a mask, but some people are walking around, others are dancing with not much distance between them and others, as well as some sitting. There doesn’t seem to be any distancing between people,” she said.
Villager Ray Johnson said he believes opening the squares was a big mistake, done in the name of greed.
“I can’t believe there are so many ignorant people in one community! Having a great time at the expense of those who are trying to make it through this pandemic. You all have your maskless party then go to Publix to spread COVID-19 to the rest of us. Shame on all of you, and The Villages for not caring about anyone but yourselves,” he said.