Before Face Masks, Americans Went to War Against Seat Belts - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Before Face Masks, Americans Went to War Against Seat Belts

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Photo of a man fastening his seat belt
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Many businesses have instituted similar policies to protect customers and staff.
It’s a relatively straightforward precaution with proven public-health benefits. Still, a small but vocal minority is resisting.
Some are fighting mask policies by invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act. Others are starting fistfights or even killing people.
Photo of protesters

FILE – In this April 17, 2020, file photo, protesters demonstrate against stay-at-home orders that were put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in Huntington Beach, Calif. Many African Americans watching protests calling for easing restrictions meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus see them as one more example of how their health and their rights just don’t seem to matter. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Backlash against public-health safeguards has plenty of precedents: When the influenza pandemic swept through San Francisco in 1919, hundreds of “mask slackers” disobeyed the law and were arrested.
Even the seat belt, one of the most ubiquitous safety devices in modern history, faced a contentious battle for acceptance.
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