In Texas, wearing a face mask to help prevent the spread of coronavirus is pretty much a personal choice — at least when it comes to the legal side.
Though some communities have adopted orders requiring masks in public, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide order negating any penalties for noncompliance.
But businesses still have the privilege of requiring patrons to wear face masks in their facilities that are open to the public, such as retail locations. And some are doing just that.
Which has led to something of a standoff with customers who feel such a requirement intrudes on their freedom, and even violates their rights.
There are numerous posts on social media protesting any mask requirements and threatening boycotts. There are videos of angry patrons confronting store employees, sometimes threatening lawsuits. There have been acts of violence and threats of violence.
On the other side, there are posts from members of the public who do not want to risk exposure from those who refuse to wear masks. And similar posts from workers who say if they can wear a mask eight hours a day, customers can wear one for the brief time they are in the store.
And, of course, there are plenty of online arguments about the effectiveness of masks against the coronavirus.
Public officials have contributed to the situation with mixed messages about masks, for and against. And while some of them wear masks at public appearances and news conferences, others refuse to do so.
Everyone should calm down.
A store policy requiring those on their private property to wear a mask for the protection of employees and other customers is neither tyranny nor a violation of anyone's rights. It's the business owner's choice. There are plenty of retailers that do not require customers to wear face coverings. So consumers have a choice to wear the mask or take their dollars somewhere else.
Just as it's a choice to stay civil and act like an adult in these types of situations, even if you disagree.