It's no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped daily life across the entire world. But, President Biden's new executive orders will impose standards regarding mask-wearing.
Not everybody knows everything they should about them, though.
So, is it against the law to not wear a mask? Let's explore everything you should keep in mind.
What Do the Mask Orders Do Once Placed Into Effect?
The second executive order requires the same action for those present on planes, boats, trains, and buses. Additionally, masks must also be worn at airports.
How Will the Orders Be Enforced?
Although the mandate mentions a number of federal agencies that would take action against violators of the new policies, there is no explicit language that details how this enforcement will occur. Additionally, it is left unclear how strictly these orders will be enforced or who will enforce them.
The order that requires those who are on federal property to wear a mask also declares that federal agencies immediately implement measures to enforce mask-wearing.
But, the manner in which these agencies do so is left up to them. In the near future, we can likely expect to learn about new guidelines that will be put into place.
Are These Measures Projected to Be Effective?
Wearing a mask does not entirely prevent the transmission of COVID-19. But, it drastically reduces the rate at which it is able to be transmitted from person to person.
So, under these new regulations, the number of daily cases encountered in the United States is expected to fall dramatically.
Over time, it’s expected that these executive orders will be highly effective in helping the country manage the spread of the virus. This is, of course, assuming that the vast majority of the public adheres to these standards.
It’s no secret that there have been issues in the past regarding complaints with regulations that require civilians to wear masks in public spaces.
How Does the Mandate Cover Transportation?
Biden’s executive order specifically applies to public transportation, a term that is explicitly mentioned. To elaborate, this refers to any shared form of transportation service that is open to the general public.
As previously mentioned, this ends up including airplanes, trains, boats, and buses.
What Type of Federal Properties Are Affected?
Currently, it has not been specified whether or not people will be required to wear masks while outdoors on federal property. For example, many people are left wondering if they need to wear a mask while visiting national parks.
Regarding national parks specifically, though, the Biden administration has declared that these decisions will ultimately be up to the relevant overseeing agencies.
This means that there could be a discrepancy between which parks require visitors to wear a mask while on the property.
Are There Any Exceptions?
As with any rule, there are expected to be a number of exceptions. In this case, those who are at the helm of federal agencies are able to make exemptions for these standards.
More specifically, these decisions could allow people to use alternative safeguards instead of masks. How the term 'alternative' is defined, though, is also left up to the agency.
Additionally, any changes made by an agency must be documented in writing and declared official.
When Will They Take Effect?
Interestingly, it has not been explicitly declared when the mask executive orders will go into effect. This is mainly due to multiple federal agencies reviewing the details of these new policies and formulating ways to accommodate them.
So, it is currently unknown what dates the general public can expect to see these orders in action.
Will There Be Ongoing Research and Development?
Yes, there will be a significant push for research when it comes to determining mask alternatives and other forms of accommodation. The heads of multiple federal agencies will also assess situations that require federal research grants in order to study how effective these policies are.
This will allow the government to have a better understanding of current regulations and make any necessary adjustments to them in the future.
What Complications Are Expected to Arise?
The most prominent issue that will manifest in the immediate future is a refusal to abide by these executive orders.
In general, this will consist of isolated incidents but could also expand to larger groups.
Additionally, there’s also the risk of anti-mask groups holding protests against the regulations. This would also result in a handful of long-term complications, such as an increased number of overall cases within the United States.
The longer it takes for these executive orders to quell the surge of the virus, the longer they will be in effect.
So, Is It Against the Law to Not Wear a Mask?
Technically, yes, it would be under certain circumstances:
Those on federal property or who use public transportation are required to wear a mask at all times.
But, since there is still ambiguity regarding the enforcement of these policies, there may not be immediate consequences. These decisions will be left up to the relevant agencies.
Don't panic, though— those who ask themselves 'is it against the law to not wear a mask' won't encounter any trouble as long as they follow the guidelines the executive orders impose.
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