Last week, I needed to bring one of our vehicles to a dealership for a recall. The one we usually use wasn’t certified to work on the electrical/battery system of our hybrid, so we made the appointment at another dealer in a neighboring county. We live near the county line, so it’s just a couple of towns to our west.

Tioga County is a rural county; Broome, where I live is a mix of rural, urban, and suburban, although Binghamton is a small city by most standards with a population of about 46,000. Broome County’s population is about 190,000 in 716 square miles; Tioga’s is 48,000 in 523 square miles.

Your geography trivia for the day!

So, I arrive at the service department of the dealership, wearing my mask. There is a sign on the door that face coverings are optional for customers but required for staff, which seemed a bit odd as New York State rules are to wear a mask whenever people are closer than six feet (2 meters). I was surprised to walk up to the service desk to find that there was no plexiglass barrier to protect the employee and he was not wearing a mask.

I tried to maintain distance as best I could. I checked in, walked past unmasked customers in line, and sat in the waiting area with unmasked customers while unmasked employees walked through several times. When the repair was complete, the employee doing checkout hastily put on a mask after the window that separated her desk from the hallway was opened.

The experience left me feeling not endangered, because I was masked and maintained social distance most of the time, but disrespected. While the business knew that its employees should be masked when in proximity to another employee or a customer, they were not complying.

As the designated shopper in our house, I’m used to visiting businesses which have implemented careful measures to keep their employees and customers as safe as possible. The result has been that our infection rate in the state has remained very low as we methodically re-open businesses and services. If I am ever in a similar situation that I have to use this car dealership, I’ll make arrangements to drop the car off the evening before so that I only need to go inside to do the final paperwork when it’s ready.

I hope that there won’t be any outbreaks from the disregard that I witnessed at the car dealership, which, presumably, was considered acceptable to others in that community. For me, it seemed a small taste of what I hear on the news from other states, that folks don’t believe that masks and distancing help prevent COVID infections or that masks infringe on their liberties or that COVID doesn’t exist, all of which contribute to the appalling rates of illness and death in the United States.

At least I know that no one there will have contracted COVID from me.

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

16 thoughts on “unmasked”

                1. Guess they must be having cruises then… I have never been on one and am unlikely to due to family motion sickness issues.

                  B, T, and I are booked to go to London for the month of November in order to visit our daughter and her family, including baby JG who was born in August. We will quarantine for the first two weeks and then have two weeks to visit, provided the UK doesn’t close down visitors from the US. There is no other motivation which would have us planning a trip at this time, though.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I hope you have a fabulous time! I may be wrong but when I was just at the airport they said that if you can get a test to prove you do not have COVID 72 hours or less before your flight you may not have to quarantine. You might want to check that. It would give you a lot more time for visiting.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Because we are in New York State, testing before we go is fairly feasible, but everything depends on the UK rules when we go. They had been talking about allowing testing there after arrival, but now they are having a testing shortage and their case numbers are rising. Fingers crossed that things will calm down over the next few weeks.

                      Liked by 1 person

  1. Forgot to add my comment….I think it is just out of sheer courtesy that masks should be worn in public. I had someone come do some work on the house and I didn’t wear a mask and told him he didn’t need to since he was only walking through the house, we didn’t really talk. It’s strange when people come to my home and I don’t always think to wear a mask, since I am home!


    1. Courtesy is definitely a good reason, although I tend to think more about the medical/public health reasons. One of my favorite resources is here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=268065271165568&extid=ZqO3NxusQMtmtA22. It’s a video from PBS’s It’s Okay to Be Smart.

      While we knew that cloth masks helped to prevent the spread from an infected person, there is now significant evidence that mask-wearing also protects the uninfected wearer because they will inhale a smaller amount of virus and are likely to become less ill if they do contract COVID. From a CA doctor: https://www.ecowatch.com/cloth-masks-2647029510.html

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This type of thing has happened to me as well. A tire store – where the front desk employee was not wearing a mask despite signs requiring everyone to wear one. I asked him why he wasn’t wearing one – his answer “I’m claustrophobic” – which is not much of a reason in my opinion. I agree with your description – disrespectful. I won’t be going back.
    Did you ask anyone at the dealership about this?


    1. No, I didn’t. Given that no one was wearing masks, I didn’t want to ask to speak to a manager because it would have been yet another person I was exposing myself to. I’m also a very non-confrontational person and couldn’t muster the energy to make an issue of it. I just concentrated on keeping myself distanced as much as possible.


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