Masks are the key to keeping our economy open.

There was a teaching moment this week in Idaho Falls. A friend of our family arrived for a medical appointment. An unmasked person was standing at the reception desk. Too late, people learned that this person was infected with COVID-19 and knew it. Our friend and spouse are quarantined.

Back in the day, people who opposed mandatory seat belts argued that seat belt scofflaws posed no greater risk to other drivers. Failing to wear a mask in this pandemic is not like driving without a seat belt. It is like driving without brakes.

COVID-19 has an incubation period during which an asymptomatic infected person is contagious to others. Infected people without masks can infect every person they approach.

Currently, our large stores have entrance signs advising us that masks are recommended. But look around. Store mask wearing is going out of fashion.

Stores can control their entrances. When wearing a mask is required of everyone entering the premises, the shopping culture will change.

We can wait for herd immunity to set in. Or we can practice herd common sense. The key to opening up the economy sooner rather than later is effective mask policies.

Jay Gaskill

Idaho Falls