UPDATE: This group has been archived and disbanded on Facebook:
Well, the debate and scrutiny over face masks and coronavirus recently took an ugly turn here in Schuylkill County.
In the last week, a new group popped up on Facebook. It’s called Schuylkill County Mask Watch. At last check, it’s up to 450 members.
Members of the group post about businesses they believe are and aren’t following the face mask orders and guidance in place. Businesses, mostly small, locally- and family-owned establishments are being scrutinized over mask policy.
This group reports the good, bad, and ugly. And most members don’t hold back.
They’ll post pictures. And they discuss if employees are wearing masks. Are they covering their noses with them? Does the company have what they consider the proper signage on their doors?
On Sunday, the group even unveiled a list of who, in their mind, is doing the mask policy correctly and others who aren’t following it all. (We’ve blocked the names of the businesses.)
They critique everything from the lack of signs, to people not wearing a mask over their nose, and of course, those who don’t wear a mask at all in the stores.
It seems the goal is to rat out businesses that aren’t following the rules they want followed. The group encourages members to not support those businesses. A majority of group members think people who don’t want to wear masks are “Covidiots”. The people who use this term are most likely to say their argument isn’t political but then post some of the more divisive and hateful messages specifically about politics.
One local business found out about this group and fired off a post against it.
“I only wish I had the time for that,” the owner of the page and, presumably, the business said.
The North Side Meats business got called out for their apparent lack of meeting the standards of the local mask police.
They responded, “My employees will wear them and do curbside pick up with them on. And I will give my life to make sure you have the choice.”
Snitches Get Stitches
While many in the group believe it’s a good idea to roam around Schuylkill County looking for apparent mask violations, many others aren’t so sure.
One member of the group says this snitching behavior is the start of something bad.
“I don’t agree with this group at all. I don’t think we need more people fighting among each other,” the member said.
If you go to this group and post something that’s against using face masks in public – the way group admins believe you should – they’ll kick you out of the group. There’s no arguing with the snitch patrol here.
In a previous Canary article which featured the then-new coronavirus snitch form in Pennsylvania, we quoted one State Representative from Lebanon County, Frank Ryan, who said this behavior is akin to what happens in Communist countries. Ryan said of the state opening a snitch portal, “I thought we defeated Stalin-like behavior when the Cold War ended. I find this repulsive.”
Mask police are one thing on a national level. We’re all a bit removed from the situation when looking at it from a distance.
But groups like the Mask Watch encourage people to turn on their friends and neighbors.
If you’re worried about your business getting reported, head over to Schuylkill County Mask Watch and join the group. Due to too many naysayers joining the group to tell admins how dangerous a group like this is, there’s talk of setting the group to Private.
READ MORE: Wolf Now Requires Masks in ALL Public Places
READ MORE ABOUT HOW WE ENDED UP HERE ON THE MASKS ISSUE IN PENNSYLVANIA: