Letter to the Editor: I am not the mask police

To the editor,

A few days ago, I wrote a short poem on our Facebook page regarding the new mask mandate that has impacted Colorado and the citizens within. We got an overwhelmingly positive response from people on both sides of the argument. I’d like to address that.

The basic statement that was woven within the lines of my little ballad was that we believe that your freedom of choice is supreme. The antics of people left and right have left me speechless as to where we have degraded to as a society. I’ll leave my opinion at that. With our little business, we are simply trying to stay afloat through all of this and give people what they want. A good meal, a friendly smile and a pleasant experience. The odds of us, or any restaurant making it through this, are very slim. For the time being, we are happy to keep our employees employed, and our customers fed well. When the mask mandate came about, not much really changed for restaurants. People are allowed to sit and eat without a mask, and the staff was instructed to wear them. We have done so and will continue to do so.

We are all about doing what we can as a business to prevent the spread of illness. It’s something we have done since way before COVID-19 and consider it standard practice.

What I will not get in the way of, is any one person’s individual freedoms. I am not the mask police. People are welcome to come and sit in my establishment and enjoy their meal. The idea that wearing a mask from the door to the table will do anything I find to be a little silly. That being said, my customers most often do so without being asked. If they don’t, it’s not my business to go ask them if they have a medical condition. That’s nobody’s business but their own, and their condition doesn’t need to be broadcast to a room full of people they don’t know. People that are uncomfortable sitting in a room without a mask, get their orders to go. You know what? That’s just fine with us. I appreciate their business just as much and respect their personal freedom to choose not to eat in our establishment. It costs me a bit more to put together a to-go take out order, but as a wise man once told me, it’s “CODB” meaning “cost of doing business.”  I’d much rather spend the extra money than lose a customer forever.

I think we as a nation have gotten away from individual freedoms that way. No matter who or where you are, you are expected to toe one side or the other of some company line. If you don’t, you are one or more of a hundred precast labels that the other side has given you. We need to stop that as a society. Its incorrect, its detrimental to the people’s well-being, and a lot of times, flat out rude. It comes back to the kindergarten concept of “can’t we all just get along?”  In the face of economic ruin from an invisible enemy, being a united front is more important than ever. I can’t solve the nation’s problems, but I am in control of one little piece. There’s a 4,500 square foot box in South Fork that serves up a mean sandwich. We will do what we’ve always done to keep you and every other customer safe from the spread of disease and foodborne illness. We take classes on it and have annual health inspections for that very reason. You’re welcome to eat with us, or we’ll put ‘er in a box with an extra sauce cup and thank you for stopping in. One thing is for certain though, you’ll hear no policing from me. I’m happy you stopped in. Mask or no mask, for here or to go, I thank you for your business, and I look forward to having you stop in again. The freedom of choice belongs to you. At least, that’s the way I see it.

Tyler Schmidt
Owner, Two Rivers BBQ, South Fork


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