I recently returned from a road trip up the Northern California and Oregon coasts to Seattle, and discovered that the states mean business when it comes to wearing masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. You can't shop without masks in many stores in the west currently, but you can smoke crack on the sidewalk outside your local 7-Eleven convenience store.

With cases of the new Coronavirus variant spiking in many states, health officials on the West Coast have apparently decided they aren't taking any chances when it comes to the possibility of once again having to take steps backwards in order to combat the pandemic. I'm fully vaccinated, but still had to wear a mask in several locations throughout Oregon and Washington, which I didn't mind doing. Being asked by a business owner to wear a mask for a few minutes isn't cause for disrespect or a mass protest in my opinion.

One of the sites we were told we couldn't enter without a mask was the Seattle Space Needle. Just to wander the gift shop, we had to mask up, and the request was heavily enforced by employees. I was surprised to see three people sitting out on the curb one block from the famous tourist attraction smoking crack openly. Secondhand crack smoke sucks, I might add.

So, to those out there that get incredibly annoyed and feel your rights are being violated when asked to wear a mask, you shouldn't bother heading west this summer. Cities such as Eureka (California), Astoria (Oregon), Garibaldi (Oregon) and Seattle will not tolerate anti-mask rants, but will instead just send you on your way. A record store owner in Astoria nearly had a heart attack when I stepped within three or four feet of him, even though I wore a mask.

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