Fine People For Not Wearing Masks, Ed Markey Says

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U.S. Senator Ed Markey said he supports fining people who don’t wear masks in public when required to do so by coronavirus emergency rules.

Markey made the comments Monday night during a debate with Republican challenger Kevin O’Connor hosted by WGBH, moderated by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.

A transcript of Markey’s exchange with debate co-moderator Eagan on Monday, October 5 follows:


Margery Egan:  I was just going to ask, Senator:  Many people have said there isn’t any good to a mandate if there aren’t fines and strict enforcements. There have been 300-dollar fines in some parts of Massachusetts. So do you think that we are going to need that kind of strict enforcement, plus fines?


Ed Markey:  Yes, I do think we are going to need enforcement going forward.

Obviously, the numbers that you just outlined – 96,000 more deaths which are avoidable if we have a mask mandate — obviously, that’s something that requires everyone to cooperate, and with penalties if people don’t.

The masks are less for your own health than to protect other people, as well, from the exposure.

The tweet from President Trump this afternoon, was irresponsible. As he was leaving the hospital, he said, “Don’t be afraid of the coronavirus, or it will dominate your life.”

The reality is, is that if you’re not afraid of coronavirus, it will dominate your life.  And we see that right now. And a mandate for wearing masks – along with, by the way, other public health safeguards, including, obviously, social distancing, and washing your hands is absolutely essential to reduce the –


Markey was interrupted by Braude at that point, who asked a different question of O’Connor.

Markey did not specify an amount for fines, but did not take issue with the example of $300 that Eagan offered.

Earlier, O’Connor said he doesn’t support a mask mandate, but does support “appropriate guidelines that people should follow, and certainly within confined spaces.”

O’Connor batted away a pointed question from Braude about a photo depicting a campaign appearance at a diner in Lowell on Thursday, October 1 showing O’Connor “shoulder to shoulder” with a reporter, a supporter, and diners.

“None of them had masks. You didn’t have a mask. How is that following the guidelines?” Braude asked.

O’Connor replied:  “Well, the guidelines talk about duration of contact. That all contact is not equal. I moved in for photographs, and then separated.”

Below is a photo from O’Connor’s Twitter account from Thursday, October 1:

Source: Kevin O’Connor’s U.S. Senate campaign Twitter account


Below is a tweet from President Donald Trump on Monday, October 5 upon leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, about three days after going there Friday night after he tested positive test for coronavirus: