I am interested in your opinion concerning local mask mandates.
If the county government (health department) issues a mask mandate requiring individuals over age 5 to wear masks in public buildings or public transportation but the mandate does not require businesses to enforce the mandate, it is simply left to the individual to abide by. What does Romans 13 require of us?
The local congregation here does not take a position one way or the other. It leaves it up to the individual to decide if they want to wear or not wear a mask. The majority of folks currently do not wear a mask, only a few do.
As I pointed out a year ago ("Must masks be worn to services?"), cloth masks have always been known to be ineffective in stopping the spread of viral diseases. Politicians have been mandating them simply as a way to appear to be doing something to combat the disease. Just recently the CDC updated their recommendation, admitting what most people already knew: "Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection." [Mark Ellis, "CDC Updates Mask Guidelines - Cloth Masks Least Effective," WebMD, 19 January 2022]. Even this statement is far more generous than what medical studies have shown, but the politicians in the CDC aren't inclined to admit that they were wrong. Other countries have announced that they are easing or dropping their restrictions, saying that they are past the peak, but I suspect that it is more because the restrictions are very unpopular and known not to work. After all, COVID continued to spread rapidly despite all efforts to dampen its transmission.
Your local government says they are not expecting the masks to be enforced so the church there does not need to do anything. It becomes an individual decision. Personally, I only wear a mask at a place where I work part-time simply because that company made it a requirement of employment. While Romans 13 requires Christians to obey the governing authorities (when they are in line with God's laws), when various levels of government are in conflict, I select what gives me the greatest freedom. For example, the Douglas County Health Director issued a mask mandate for only the city of Omaha in Nebraska. The state government says that her mandate is illegal by state law; thus, I have no qualms following the state instead of the county when I'm in Omaha.
I truly appreciate your response. It may come up or not but it is something that I think about on how to address.
I agree with what you have said and I find myself thinking the same things.
Thanks for your quick response.