During the COVID-19 pandemic, we've all experienced the politics of vaccines and wearing a mask. It was a public health issue that turned very political as state and local mandates began. There is a full spectrum of feelings on the subject and if you spend ANY time on social media, you'll no doubt come across plenty of angry words exchanged by friends and strangers alike, who feel very different about these two things.

There's not a day that goes by, that we are not exposed in some way, to this great divide and it's getting uglier as time goes by. The most recent catalyst to frustration and anger for those who are anti-mask is Governor Hochul's announcement that as of December 13, 2021, all New York residents (with few exceptions) must wear a mask in indoor public places, unless that venue enforces a COVID vaccination requirement. Hochul states that this action was in response to the rapid increase in COVID cases across the state and an attempt to prevent another business shutdown.

Needless to say, since we've all been enduring the pandemic since March of 2020 and EVERYONE is tired of the multitude of various stresses related to this virus, tensions are very high and it seems that some people may be at the breaking point - so much so that they are taking out their anger and frustration on a group of people who are just trying to do their job as dictated by New York State and not to blame for the mask mandate - The Otsego County Department of Health.

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According to Otsego County Representative Jill Basile, employees in that department have been receiving threats "both in-person and online" from people stirred up by the mask mandate. See Basile's Facebook post from yesterday below...

My message to anyone feeling angry and frustrated is please don't take it all out on innocent people like the employees at the health department or employees at stores who are attempting to enforce the mask mandate. These people are just doing their jobs. Find some ways to expel those feelings in a way that is not harmful to others. We are ALL feeling the difficulty of these hard times and need to lift each other up, not knock each other down, despite our differing opinions.

If you wish to pursue change, the proper way to do it is to express your opinion through your district state congressman and/or assemblyman. For Otsego County, that means Congressman Antonio Delgado and Assemblyman John Salka.

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