By Sheila Getzinger

(This letter was sent to the three members of the Waitsfield Select Board who voted against the town adopting a mask resolution.)

Dear Paul, Daryl and Kellee:

I can hardly believe that we’re still talking about masks.  According to the doctor who is the head of the CDC if everyone would either stay home or just wear a mask for four to eight weeks, this virus could be squashed. Just wearing a mask.  Just four to eight weeks. We’re heading into month five of this pandemic and by all accounts things are just getting worse and that is primarily because of some selfish, or idiotic rationale not to wear a mask.  Nobody likes wearing a mask but it seems little enough to ask of people so that we can all be relatively safe and continue to go about working and living. Instead, those who refuse to wear a mask are putting everyone in their presence in danger and putting all of us in danger of having to go into lockdown again. Whatever science or politics you believe – these are facts – if we don’t get and keep this pandemic under some sort of control, we’re going to be closing up again and that helps no one (except politicians and government officials who continue to be paid whether they work or they don’t). 

I deal with tourists all the time and I know something about democracy and the Constitution of the United States so I wanted to briefly discuss both with you.

Tourists come here for a variety of reasons but, currently, the number one reason they’re coming is that they feel this is a safe place – or a safer place from where they came. They’re coming, they’re buying property, groceries, everything – because they view this as a safe place. Let’s make it so – require people to wear masks.


I really don’t believe that asking people to wear masks is leading us toward communism any more than asking people to turn their lights out at night or rationing food during the last world war led us to communism. Come on now. We’re fighting an enemy here – it just has a different look – it’s microscopic droplets in the air. Is wearing a mask really too much to ask of people whose forefathers sacrificed so much to allow us to continue to live as we are? Aren’t we acting a little bit like spoiled brats? People talk all the time about their “constitutional rights” but mostly I suspect those people who say they have a right to do this or that or can’t be made to do this or that have never read the constitution (there is no constitutional right to snowboard at Mad River Glen or not to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or to decline to wear a damned mask). As a general rule, if you want to do something – or to refuse to do something – which is very likely to hurt me or cost me money – then you don’t have a right. That’s a general rule of thumb. So – if you don’t wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle and you are hurt or killed, that costs me. I have to pay for your medical care. I have to take care of those you leave behind. If you don’t wear a mask and you infect people with this virus – that costs me. Maybe my life or the medical care for you or those you infect and possibly even the care of those you leave behind when it kills you.  Believe me, I wish there were a waiver people could sign to avail themselves of the right to be a moron and decline to be taken to a hospital but, alas, we’ve decided to be somewhat civilized as a country. Please stop the insanity and require people to wear masks.


This is not the damned flu. It has killed more than twice the number of people who died from the flu in the last year and instead of subsiding this summer, it has gotten worse. People who survive this thing end up with other health issues which will likely follow them for the rest of their lives and we may only know the tip of that iceberg. This isn’t the damned flu.

Finally, I want to let you know that there are many health care workers living in The Valley – dozens. I met most of them while my husband was going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer through this last winter. I know that some of them go to work scared every day – not just that they might die, but that they are bringing a deadly virus home to their children and other family members – some elderly. Do you hate them? Do you hate me? My husband is now cancer free but it will take a year or more for his immune system to redevelop. If he gets this virus, he will die. I don’t walk around in fear of this virus but some of the letters to The Valley Reporter about rights, YouTube videos and vaccinations are downright scary. I can tell you with absolute certainty that if any of you asked me to please wear a mask in order to make this a safer place for you – I would do it in a second. I wouldn’t think about what I have the right to do or how it would look to someone else or what is most convenient for me … I would put on a mask.   

Please reconsider your decision and require people in town to wear masks when they are in public in the presence of others. 

Thank you.

Sheila K. Getzinger lives in Moretown.