The owner of one Boston diner has drawn the ire of Massachusetts health officials over a sign he posted at this place of business, but it’s not entirely clear he meant it as an actual policy for his establishment. George Athanasopoulos, the owner of the Breakfast Club diner, put up an “informational” sign for prospective patrons explaining why they weren’t obligated to wear a face mask while inside. But when inspectors arrived in response to complaints lodged by a couple of Karens, they found everyone in the joint wearing masks, both the staff and the patrons. Of course, there weren’t that many people to check since the city is back under lockdown again and seating is limited to 25% capacity, essentially rendering Athanasopoulos’ diner unprofitable anyway. (CBS Boston)

A sign posted outside an Allston diner about the coronavirus is getting some attention. The Breakfast Club owner George Athanasopoulos posted the sign outside his diner informing customers why they don’t have to wear a mask inside.

“The meaning is we’re not going to be pushed around, we can’t be pushed around,” said Athanasopoulos. “It’s more or less just to stir the pot for Governor Baker like ‘listen, you can’t make us not do this.’”

Athanasopoulos said it’s just a statement and that in reality people are coming in with masks and his staff all wear masks as well.

He said he’s more upset with the extension of restrictions on small businesses.

Even though nobody seemed to be taking advantage of the information when inspectors arrived, the diner’s sign actually makes sense. It explains that people with an underlying health condition that would make wearing a mask problematic are exempt under the rules. Further, it’s not legal for Athanasopoulos or his staff to ask customers about the details of their personal health conditions. As a result, if the staff sees anyone who isn’t wearing a mask, they’re to assume that the person has a qualifying, underlying condition and welcome them in anyway.

Of course, this forces people wishing to take advantage of this loophole to lie, at least by omission, unless, of course, you actually do have an underlying condition. And who is to say what conditions would or wouldn’t qualify? I tend to develop a runny nose if the pollen levels are high and a mask could cause problems in that regard. It would be interesting to see the state attempt to prosecute someone who made such a claim.

But when it comes to a diner, the mask rules are fairly stupid anyway, right? You’re supposed to wear the mask except when eating or drinking. But this is a diner. The only reason people go there is to eat and drink. Asking people to lower and raise their masks between bites of food and sips of coffee is simply insulting to their intelligence. You don’t stop breathing when consuming your meal and your beverage, so you will be both breathing in and exhaling into the diner’s atmosphere most of the time anyway. Even if cloth masks were remotely effective in preventing you from taking in the virus (they’re not), you’re not reducing the risk at all with a rule like that.

As far as I can tell, too many of these executive orders all over the country have been passed by panicking politicians who are desperate to look like they’re doing something… anything… so they don’t take the blame for the body count if there’s an outbreak. But they also realize that they’ll be subject to lawsuits if they don’t make exceptions to the rules for those who would be negatively impacted. Then, whatever benefit might have been realized from the rule is essentially negated.

Look no further than California for proof of this. All through the pandemic, California, New York and New Jersey were the three states with the highest rate of compliance in terms of wearing masks. But who has the highest numbers in both new cases and deaths at the moment? That’s right. California. So how much of this is actually good governmental policy and how much is simply a dog and pony show to make people feel better? You be the judge.