Protection or placebo?

Tracy Area Public Schools Transportation Director and 4.0 School Services employee John Brandt donned a mask during a meeting at the high school earlier this summer to discuss the schools’ back-to-school plans. Brandt was joined by a number of other school officials, parents and students that evening, all of whom wore masks. Tracy Area Headlight Herald file photo

Are we protecting ourselves and others by wearing a mask, or are we simply masking the problem? As the issue has become more and more divisive, the Tracy Area Headlight Herald reached out to area residents to get their thoughts:

By Trina Thomas

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz in July announced a state-wide mask mandate amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases. There are, of course, individuals vocalizing resistance, yet, 71% of people in a recent Tracy area survey believe that masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (regardless if they like them, or even wear them at all).

If there is an uptick in cases, data that show masks work, and the majority of people believe that they are somewhat effective, why are people against wearing them? The following are arguments made for and against the wearing of masks:


Support small businesses – Individuals who do not comply have the potential of receiving a petty misdemeanor and a fine up to $100. Businesses can serve up to 90 days in jail, receive a $1,000 fine, and a max of $25,000 in civil penalties. It is widely perceived that wearing masks shows you care about local businesses and keeping their doors open.


Taking away our freedom – This has probably been the biggest argument heard about why people don’t want to wear a mask. Many believe that if the government forces us to wear masks then where will it stop?

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.