After reading negative and critical comments on the Cattaraugus County Legislature’s decision not the enforce the governor’s likely illegal and unconstitutional mask mandate, I felt another opinion should be expressed.

I, along with most everyone I know, applaud the Legislature’s decision. Cattaraugus joins more than half the counties in the state that have chosen not to enforce the mandate.

The critical letters seem to imply the Legislature is anti-mask. But had the writers read and considered the statement put out by the Legislature, they would have found that out. The statement clearly and strongly encourages the voluntary wearing of masks, frequent testing, vaccination and social distancing.

The reasons given for not enforcing the mandate are both logical and necessary. The health department, which under the mandate would be responsible for enforcement, does not have the staff to do so. The department is overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases to deal with — to the point that they have to borrow employees from other county departments for help.

The Legislature also believes that enforcement puts an additional burden on already suffering businesses. Business owners I know do not want a mask mandate.

Meanwhile, masks are not foolproof, and it has also been discovered that masks have side-effects. People wearing masks can become ill from viral infections, hypoxia (inadequate oxygen intake) and hypercapnia (excessive carbon dioxide intake). Also, many people have health conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask.

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Many masks and gaiters people wear are made of loose cloth. I had a local doctor tell me those types of masks are worse than nothing. The fabric weave is simply too loose to be of benefit as the tiny infectious particles causing COVID easily pass through. He pointed out that if an infected person breathes out through these masks the COVID actually would be more disbursed through the mask than through normal breathing.

If you don’t believe the ineffectiveness of certain masks, put one on and blow smoke through it. The smoke easily passes through and the COVID molecules are much smaller than those of smoke. Those masks are of no benefit.

If people feel the need to wear masks they have every right to do so. As adults we should make our own decisions and not rely on some government official for mandates.

If the writers truly believe that masks will protect them then what is the issue? Wear your mask and you are protected. There should be no need for a mask mandate.

(Randy Opferbeck lives in Allegany.)

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