The owner of a Plymouth store that sells "healthy" smoothies and food is making a federal case out of the state's Covid-19 face-covering requirements, charging that the number of people who have died from is really pretty minor when you think about it, hardly worth an "emergency" declaration, especially since most of the fatalities are among old people in nursing homes, and that the order violates numerous Constitutional rights.
In her suit, filed Friday in US District Court, Healthy Vibes owner Noreen Bechade asks a judge to toss the state's requirements that people in general wear facial coverings in public if they can't social distance and employees in stores that have re-opened to the public cover up. She is also seeking to have the state pay her damages and to pay her attorney's fee and court costs.
Bechade argues the requirements violate her and her workers' rights to free speech, due process and privacy and that because Covid-19 isn't really so bad, it violates the state law that lets the governor declare a state of emergency.
Bechade's complaint, which also names the state commissioner of public health and chief financial officer, argues the ban is "not based on science" - if Anthony Fauci can't make up his mind about masks, who is Charlie Baker to tell people to cover their faces? As more of her proof that the virus isn't all that, she notes that in addition to most of the deaths being in nursing homes, some of the deaths attributed to Covid-19 might have been caused by the flu.
So who the hell is Charlie Baker to tell her, a self-defined "healthy" person, to wear a mask and, among other things, deprive her of her First Amendment rights by making her cover her mouth?
Facial expression is a form of speech, which the defendants are suppressing by the issuance and enforcement of the Mask Mandates.
The complaint does note that officials now claim facial coverings protect people around a potentially asymptomatic carrier, not the wearer herself, but says that's only part of the general confusion over mask wearing.
The complaint notes that in early March, Fauci did tell people to stop buying masks, but then includes a part of an interview that supplies the context for that statement - that as hospitals in some states were getting flooded with potential Covid-19 cases, they were running short of masks and that his plea was to try to ensure front-line medical workers could get masks.
The complaint continues continues that the mask requirement violates Bechade's rights to due process - she had no say or way to appeal the requirement.
Also, forcing her to wear a facial covering violates her right to make her own medical decisions, her complaint charges.
Her complaint notes that Baker declared an emergency under a 1950 state law that discusses "disasters of unprecedented size and destructiveness," then says that Covid-19 is no such thing, that heart disease kills far more people than Covid-19 has and that the roughly 7,000 Massachusetts residents who have died from Covid-19 since March is just 0.1 percent of the state's population and, again, is based on what Berchade says is faulty science.
Complete complaint (2.9M PDF).