Prior to March 2020, entering many Montgomery County businesses with a facemask might have merited a criminal trespass violation. Many stores had, and some still have, signs which announce that people wearing hoodies or masks that cover their faces are not welcome at that establishment.
But then, the coronavirus outbreak hit Tennessee, and everything changed. That includes the way people in general, and store owners and lawmakers in particular, viewed people with masks. One innovative entrepreneur is even selling hoodie and facemask combos.
So, attitudes about masks are fluid, and the laws concerning masks are even more fluid. Some governmental entities have facemask requirements and some do not. Some stores, especially nationwide chains, also have facemask requirements. As outlined below, failing to wear a mask in these situations could be considered criminal trespass, or even aggravated criminal trespass, especially if the business has a clearly-posted sign requiring facemasks. These laws and policies are subject to change without notice.
But one thing has not changed. If you run afoul of a facemask law or requirement, a Fizer Bonding Company bondsman, (bail bond Clarksville TN) is available to help you. Despite COVID-19, our bail bond company near you is open for business. We get you out of jail fast, and also serve as a resource for your questions about the criminal justice bail bond process in Montgomery County.
The Evidence – Or Lack Thereof / in Support of Facemasks
Some people believe that wearing facemask is a selfless way to save the world. Others believe facemasks are an affront to all the values this country was built upon. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, there is plenty of evidence to support your position.
First, let’s look at pro-maskers. Scientists believe that facemasks, especially tight-fitting cloth masks, block droplets which contain the COVID-19 virus. The cheap paper masks that were a quarter apiece (.25 cents) before the pandemic and are now a dollar or more apiece. They also offer some protection, but they are shown to be not as effective. Ditto the cloth bandana-style masks that many people wear as a fashion or social statement.
Additionally, there is a substantial emotional effect. On the pro side, facemasks make most people feel more secure about going out in public. Your outgoing air and potential virus droplets will not get all over others you come into contact with. And, during a global pandemic, emotional and mental health is at least as important as physical health. Statistically speaking only a miniscule number of people contract coronavirus. But infinitely more people feel stress and anxiety about COVID-19 because the repercussions of getting the coronavirus can have deadly consequences. .
Now, for the anti-maskers. There is almost as much evidence that facemasks make little or no difference and some say that the risk of wearing a facemask outweighs the risk of not wearing one. Some people feel their identity is taken away and it can be hard to understand what someone is saying when you cannot see their mouth move and they sound like they are speaking with a mouth full of cotton. Moreover, anti-maskers often point out that even the studies in support of facemasks usually contain lots of “maybe” and “probably” conclusions. Additionally, for people with certain breathing or respiratory problems, wearing a mask could be an issue.
Wearing a facemask could also cause more emotional problems than it prevents. Some people have legitimate anxiety issues which make it dangerous to wear a facemask. Additionally, a facemask requirement could give people a false sense of security.
In the realm of public opinion, facemask requirements have considerable support. Much of that support might be due to the so-called Bradley Effect, which holds that polled people give answers they believe are socially acceptable. But that’s the subject of another blog.
So, if you go to an indoor place that is not your home or a church, it’s usually best to wear a facemask. There are even some facemask etiquette points which most people would do well to follow:
- Take a Mask With You: Keep masks near your car keys or purse. So, you are less likely to forget one when you leave. If you go inside a store, you typically need to wear a facemask to avoid a criminal trespass issue and a hateful argument which will probably wind up on someone’s Facebook page.
- Wear the Mask: Keep the mask over your mouth and nose at all times. Wearing masks halfway irritates everyone, no matter where they fall on the facemask spectrum.
- Keep Your Mask in Your Purse or Pocket When It’s Off: You would not leave a handkerchief on a restaurant table after you blow your nose. So, do not put your mask on the table either.
- Request Facemasks with Confidence and Grace: If a service provider is not wearing a mask and that bothers you, it’s okay to ask the person to mask up. But be graceful. Say something like “I like to be extra careful so I’d appreciate it if you wore a mask.” If the provider refuses, do not argue. Politely ask to speak with a manager.
- Have Extra Masks: If masking is a priority for you, keep extra masks around for service providers and visiting friends or family. That gives you a chance to share your views. Again, however, if the person refuses, do not create a scene.
If you are by yourself, you do not need to wear a mask. We wear masks for other people and not for ourselves.
Criminal Trespass Elements
Simple criminal trespass, which is a Class C misdemeanor, is “enter[ing] or remain[ing] on property without the owner’s consent.” That could include going to a store and violating the store’s policy, perhaps by legally carrying a gun or not wearing a facemask.
Aggravated criminal trespass, which is a Class A misdemeanor, is trespass plus obstructing or destroying a gate, fence, chain, sign, or anything else designed to keep people out, or entering without permission and causing someone to reasonably worry about his/her safety. That latter circumstance usually involves acting belligerent or carrying a legal weapon. But in the coronavirus era, it could also mean not wearing a facemask.
Criminal trespass is an arrestable offense. So, if officers respond to a disturbance call, they nearly always arrest the defendant, if nothing else to de-escate the situation. Since this offense is a nonviolent misdemeanor, a Fizer Bonding Company agent (bail bond near me) or criminal defense attorney can usually arrange release at a minimal expense.
At Fizer Bonding Company, we advise everyone to wear facemasks when they go out, even if they have a legitimate reason to not wear them. In the current environment, that’s the best way to avoid problems, including a possible criminal trespass violation. As the months go by and pandemic fatigue sets in even more, this environment could change.
If you have more questions about bail bond procedures for criminal trespass or other fallout from failure to wear a face mask, contact the Fizer Bonding Company and “We’ll get your tail outta jail!” (bail bond Clarksville TN). Our team truly cares about your health and safety. That’s why we do what we do. Our family owned company has been serving the bonding needs of Montgomery County over the past 40 years and is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. We offer our bonding services for only 10% of the bond amount. For more info about Fizer Bonding Company bail bonds, click here.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
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