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It’s been only a couple weeks since I started my campaign to Unmask East Longmeadow.  During that short time, I’ve spoken to dozens of residents who have offered their support and expressed their frustration with the town’s mask mandate.  After listening to a good number of residents, it’s clear that those most opposed to and harmed by the mask mandate are local business owners. 

Here are just a few examples.

I spoke to an aesthetician and masseuse who both lost over half their clients shortly after the town imposed its mask mandate.  No woman wants to get a facial or have a massage while wearing a mask—especially when she can get the same service in a neighboring town without a mask.  Likewise, I spoke to residents who canceled their East Longmeadow gym memberships and joined new gyms in the area where masks are not required.  Almost no one wants to work out while wearing a mask. 

I personally have changed my habits in response to the local mask mandate.  My family and I used to go out for pizza in town every week.  We now go to neighboring towns where we can have dinner without being lectured or scolded about mask use by the restaurant’s staff.  Similarly, if we need groceries or hardware or nearly anything else, we travel in the opposite direct of East Longmeadow.

While it has been fashionable over the past year and a half to lavish praise on healthcare workers and first responders, probably no group of professionals has been hit harder than small business owners.  After making it through lockdowns and innumerable state-imposed restrictions, the last thing local businesses need is a new round of local mandates.  That is why we all need to contact our town councilors and town manager and let them know that we are fed up with wearing masks.  Please email or call the town and, if possible, attend the next town meeting on Tuesday September 28 and tell the councilors in person that masks should be optional.