The Anchorage Assembly’s leftwing majority will on Sept. 28 entertain its ordinance that requires masks for all over the age of 2 in Anchorage, for all indoor public spaces, and some outdoor spaces as well. That means people will be required to mask up in stores, restaurants, in city buildings, churches, and banks.
But the law would not apply to those in jail. Nor to those in police custody or who are in court. The law also allows performers to go mask-free, so long as they keep their distance from the audience.
But for the rest of the folks in Anchorage, the exceptions are limited to eating, drinking or to “briefly scratch an itch.”
Creators of the ordinance — Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel (subject to recall in October), with the help of the Assembly attorney — may not have read the scientific writings on the problems of face masks causing people to have itches, and how itching leads to scratching and scratching leads to … you get the picture.
“…Of the respondents, 1,393 (60.4%) reported using face masks during the previous week, and, of these, 273 (19.6%) participants reported having itch. Subjects who reported sensitive skin and atopic predisposition, and those with facial dermatoses (acne, atopic dermatitis or seborrhoeic dermatitis) were at significantly higher risk of itch development. The highest rating of itch for the whole group on the Itch Numeral Rating Scale was 4.07 ± 2.06 (itch of moderate intensity). Responders who wore masks for longer periods more frequently reported itch. Almost 30% of itchy subjects reported scratching their face without removing the mask, or after removing the mask and then scratching. Wearing face masks is linked to development of itch, and scratching can lead to incorrect use of face masks, resulting in reduced protection.”
Of course, we have questions:
- May Anchorage residents scratch anywhere on their bodies and be exempt from the mask ordinance?
- Is all-day scratching allowed?
- Is the Assembly using the Urban Dictionary definition of scratching an itch?
These questions and others are sure to be asked by curious, and possibly itchy Anchorage residents at next Tuesday’s public hearing on the universal masking ordinance, starting at 5 pm at the Loussac Library.
So far, the as-of-yet unnumbered Municipal ordinance includes no enforcement mechanism, but penalties may be inserted by the nine who appear in favor of the mask ordinance in the final document once it is before the group on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
The draft ordinance can be read here, with the section on scratching of itches on Page 5, Line 22: