Mandatory Mask Laws: Pros and Cons

The mask debate is heating up in this country.

As an orthopaedic surgeon, I never imagined we would be living in a time where we have to try and convince people to wear a mask during a global pandemic, but here we are.

Due to the fact that there has been no consistent guidance from this administration on masks, we are now in a unique place where 30% of Americans don’t think Covid-19 actually exists. We are living in a time where people think it’s okay to refuse service to gay people, but being forced to wear a mask to protect others is somehow and infringement of ‘rights’.

For many businesses, mask requirements have been in place for months. Many other businesses are just now requiring them. Certain states have made masks mandatory, whereas others are actually lobbying against them.

This mask debate is a dumpster fire of epic proportions, mostly because I spend most of my professional life wearing masks, and I can tell you that they really aren’t that bad.

I like to examine all sides of every debate though, so here are the pros and cons of mandatory mask laws:


It may protect you from getting sick. Even if it was just a sniffly nose, who wants to get sick? Even during cold and flu season, if there was something you could do to avoid getting sick, wouldn’t you do it? We have NO idea about the long term effects of Covid-19 on the lungs and overall health. Wearing a mask is the easiest way to protect your own health.

It may keep your grandparents alive. Even if you are low-risk for Covid-19, your grandparents aren’t. If they live in a nursing home, all of their friends are at risk. Anyone with any kind of compromised immune system is at risk. If you won’t protect your own health, protect the health of others.

READ MORE: Safety And Style: The Most Gorgeous Masks from Instagram

Bad breath prevention. If everyone is wearing a mask, you won’t have to smell anyone’s bad breath. If you are close enough to smell someone’s breath, you probably aren’t respecting social distance, but that’s another topic entirely.

It will prevent social altercations with mask wearers. We all see the videos of anti-maskers on the Internet. So if you don’t want to be cancelled, you might as well wear a mask just to prevent the altercations that will inevitably happen when you venture outside without one.

It is a show of solidarity and patriotism. Wearing a mask is a political statement at this point. If you wear one, you are being patriotic and showing that you care about your fellow Americans. If you don’t, you basically just want the world to know that you get all your news from Youtube.

Wearing masks has worked in many other countries. Other countries have gotten coronavirus under control, because they had strong leadership that encouraged them to wear masks from the jump. The United States has failed in terms of a pandemic response, and we continue to fail by encouraging anti-maskers. This isn’t about freedom, it’s about survival.

It can be a fashion statement all on its own. There are plenty of attractive, fashionable masks out there. If we have to wear these masks to protect humanity and our loved ones, we might as well look good doing it.


You have to cover part of your face. I’m sorry if you are so beautiful that covering your face is a crime against humanity or an infringement of your rights, but it is the right thing to do.

That’s it. That’s really it.

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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