The Slow, Strange, and Wonderful Unmasking of America

by Max Gulker
The American Institute for Economic Research

Early in the evening of July 1, I found myself intently staring out of the street-facing front window of my AirBnb in Burlington, VT. I was in a residential neighborhood, just a few blocks from where Burlington’s downtown commercial district starts–a place that would look familiar to anyone who has spent time in a small city that’s home to a large university. Having just arrived in town, I needed something to eat, and was planning to walk downtown and see what was open in the version of COVID-19 limbo specific to this time and place.

The people-watching had everything to do with the disposable piece of white cloth and two elastic bands I almost unconsciously fiddled with in my left hand. I was gaining a sense of whether people were wearing masks outside, and thus what to do with my own. Results were decidedly mixed.

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