Why and How Small Business Owners Must Manage and Mitigate ‘Mask’ People (Part 1)
My kids and I had lunch at Noodles last Sunday. We all obediently wore masks to comply with the Sedgwick County mask ordinance.
A plexiglass sheet and over five feet of distance separated us from the cashier. We ordered our food.
All of us had to repeat our order at least three times.
Through our masks, the plexiglass, and with the minimal background noise in the restaurant, the cashier couldn’t hear us.
Eventually both the cashier and I leaned to the side of the plexiglass, about two feet apart, so I could place and she could hear our order.
Fortunately, following our encounter my non-symptomatic kids did not subsequently test positive for the Coronavirus. I trust that the cashier did not either.
While my mask narrative might seem like a minor inconvenience, at its root sprouts an essential truth for small business owners.
To maintain a business and health climate conducive to prosperity and a high quality of life for all, we must attend to our responsibilities now as respectfully engaged citizens in our Representative Republic.
People under stress reveal parts of themselves you would not otherwise see. The Coronavirus pandemic turned up the volume that we live in a world with “mask” people and “non (mandated) mask” people.
When I use the term “Mask People” I am not describing people who are wearing masks during the Coronavirus because they believe it is the right thing to do to protect themselves or loved ones or they are forced to do this because of whatever work or school environment they are involved in.
I am also not referring to people who have come to a position that requiring everyone to wear masks is the best public policy after going through an informed, systemic, critical thinking process to reach that conclusion.
With the term “Mask People” here, I am referring to the emotional and poorly informed “Mandated Mask” people. Mandated mask people insist that masks during the Coronavirus, no matter what the six month data shows in their area, are essential for themselves and others. They aggressively label those who disagree as being uncaring.
These mask people are unwilling to entertain that any one other than those with compromised immune systems have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, like
- People who were in a more fragile mental health state prior to the pandemic,
- young people who have major developmental disruptions as a result of the pandemic and our public policy response to it leading to intense levels of social isolation, (1 in 4 in the age group of 18-24 in June according to the CDC, who considered suicide)
- business owners who have been forced to shut down, maybe on life support, or may go bankrupt and out of business,
- businesses who have seen significant demands for their products and services because of the intense fear of consumers about the virus that is amplified in the media on a daily basis,
- employees in those business who may have run out of funds to live,
- working parents, especially single parents, who have had defacto become homeschool parents,
- teachers, administrators and other business owners who have gone to great expense and effort to meet the ever changing government regulations around the Coronavirus.
(Mandated) Mask people like things predictable and safe. They work in “secure” jobs, like government and corporations, with a steady paycheck that helps them feel in control of things, many of which are actually out of their control. They are willing to make sacrifices non-Mask people aren’t willing to make to conform to the corporate or government culture that calms their nerves with the relatively guaranteed flow of cash into their bank accounts.
Mandated Mask people worry.
When threatened, mask people need to control others and to feel in control. Wearing a mask and forcing others who might not agree with their position eases their anxiety.
Some mask people have a hard time seeing beyond themselves and their particular circumstance, particularly if they have a loved one with health problems making them vulnerable to the virus. They don’t trust other people to make reasonable accommodations. They aren’t able to see creative solutions that would keep them and their loved ones safe, while also not harming other groups of people who are affected by the pandemic in other ways.
I’ve noticed that some mandated Mask people advocate for health, but seem to struggle more with the daily discipline necessary to manage their own health, relative to non-mask people. Some mandated mask people who advocate strongly that others wear masks are overweight, clandestine closet smokers, or regular unhealthy eaters.
Mask people tend to operate on a platform of fear. To cope they create a life that minimizes risk and buffers them with resources between them and the things they fear. The virus has removed this safety blanket, leaving them feeling vulnerable.
Non (Mandated) Mask people embrace risk, easily see and can navigate various moving parts in the world. They feel suffocated over controlled environments. Non-mask people intuitively believe things will work out. Under stress or oppression, non-mask people will prioritize investing the facts to ascertain the real risk. They make decisions quickly.
Non-mask people experience well-being from the actions they take towards getting what they want. They have an internal rather than external locus of control. They determine the threat, identify what is and is out of their control, and feel soothed by taking appropriate action.
Non-mask people are business owners and entrepreneurs who may experience Coronavirus-level stress on a regular basis just keeping up with making payroll during tough times.
I observed that I and everyone of my ideal clients are non-masked people. Non-mask people highly value freedom and more easily rely on faith in completing their daily tasks.
We actually do need both the Mask People and the Non-Mask people. When working in harmony and charity towards our fellow man, we come up with solutions that improve the quality of life for everyone.
However, facing this Coronavirus global threat caught us all off-guard. It was unclear what authority our elected officials had or didn’t have in light of the pandemic threat. The Constitutionality of many actions were ignored because of the “crisis”. Certain media messages and social media censorship of opposing points of view inflamed the fear, further justifying actions that would otherwise be viewed as legally out-of-bounds in our free society.
In the next post, we’ll discuss how small business owners can adopt a “Mask People Mitigation and Management” Strategy.