Mandate masks, not a lower drinking age

Alex McLean

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on 2020 in all possible ways. From careers, to school, to social lives.
Attempts to slow the pandemic have been successful in a myriad of countries across the globe, but not in the United States.
Domestically, we have been horrible about quarantining, isolating or even staying home for longer than a month.
Florida, for a majority of the last nine months, has been the hotspot of COVID culture, rife with parties and an extreme lack of self-awareness.
Florida remained on this throne until undergraduate institutions throughout the nation began fall semester. Then Iowa took the spotlight.
Ames and Iowa City, Iowa are home to Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, respectively.
These two institutions, for the last several decades, have been known as party schools. At one time, the University of Iowa was the top party school in the nation.
As both cities are essentially college towns, it was to no one’s surprise that as soon as students reached the front doors of their colleges, parties immediately began.
And soon after, the two college towns became the COVID-19 hotspots of America.
As Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds was obliged to try to curb the rampage of COVID through the state.
She began by shutting down the local bars and clubs in the larger towns. Next, she instigated a mask mandate.
Wait, no she didn’t. In fact, there is no statewide requirement for masks in public locations.
Instead, Governor Reynolds, since early September, has contemplated raising the drinking age.
That’s right, instead of mandating masks for men, women and children, she is considering raising the legal drinking age so that college-aged students would have a more difficult time throwing house parties in the states’ colleges.
By responding in this manner, Governor Reynolds has blatantly shown disconnect from her constituents in Iowa.
While the remaining open bars would have to turn away more guests, liquor stores would lose more business.
Much to Reynolds’ dismay, individuals who throw house parties do not check I.D.s. There are also not enough police officers to police every house party on a college campus.
If Reynolds wants to work towards fixing Iowa she should mandate masks. It’s just as easy to invoke an emergency mandate for masks as it is to mandate a higher drinking age.
In fact, a state-wide mask mandate would affect more individuals and be followed more strictly.
If Governor Reynolds believes a bunch of college-aged adults will suddenly follow the existing age restriction on drinking – she’s only setting herself up to be disappointed.
Mandating masks and isolation did wonders in other countries across the globe. However, Americans, as they are, refused to do so for longer than three months.
Requiring these mandates again, under strict fines for policy violation, will have a greater effect on college students than raising an already inconsistently followed drinking law.
Kim Reynolds is disconnected from the college students and citizens of her state, and this position is a dangerous irreverence for the policy which already has been  shown to be effective – masks.