I must have missed something in the governor’s order requiring masks to be worn when in public. There was evidently an exclusion for boaters which I didn’t see. I understand that while in a boat underway, there is plenty of fresh air and probably not much need for a mask. 

Unless the boat is overcrowded, it is also probably possible to social distance. However, it is probable that during a fun day on the lake, at some point a stop will be needed to go ashore for fuel, food, drink or a bathroom break. Washburn’s Marina is a likely spot to tie up and get these needs tended to. There are several others.

Here’s where the exemption evidently applies. Despite signs on the door stating that masks are required, the store is very often filled with folks who came off a boat and are not wearing masks. This puts everyone in the store in jeopardy, including me. It should be noted that I wear a face mask whenever I leave the house. Now here’s the hard part. By not wearing masks, the store operators are put in an untenable position of either not serving these irresponsible people or ignoring the order.

In defense of the store operators, I understand that a good percentage of their business comes from these boaters, especially on the weekends. I’m sure if they didn’t serve them, the word would soon get out not to stop in from the water. The whole situation is unfair to the store operators, and risky for the patrons who wear their masks.

I’m pretty sure there is no exemption, so I would call on boaters to include a mask when the go out on the boat and wear them when they come ashore. Perhaps the U.S. Coast Guard should consider including them on their list of mandatory safety equipment.

Doug Hughes

Henrico, NC