This weekend I landed in the US. As I entered the baggage claim room at the immigration facility, the first two Customs and Border Protection officers I saw were standing next to each other talking and not wearing masks.
This post is not about our individual feelings about wearing masks. Rather, Miami Airport requires all passengers, visitors and employees to wear face masks. Miami-Dade County also has a masquerade mandate. It is certainly worth noting that at least 162 CBP officers in Florida have already tested positive for coronavirus.
I looked at the officers and shook my head – not only should they follow the rules, but should they not be an example to others?
At this point one of the officers started talking to me:
Officer: “You have a problem?”;
Me: “Yeah, why aren’t you guys wearing masks?”
Officer: “Are you trying to help me, or what is your problem?”
I: “Everyone is supposed to have masks, including you, and you know it.”
Official: “Well you are wearing a mask, so you are protected.”
Me: “Masks do not work like that. This kind of logic is exactly why we are the epicenter of this. “
Officer: “I’ll put one on for you, happy?”
I: “And the other boy?”
The official: “He has a beard, it is proven that masks do not work if you have a beard. Why not go your own way and mind about your business.”
I… I… I… have been at a loss for words.
Me: “This is completely ridiculous. Is there a supervisor I can talk to?”
At this point a guy happened to be coming out of the back room at the same time, at which point the officer said “hey, this guy wants to file a complaint against me for not wearing the mask”, and the guy smiled at her. It was claimed that there was no one above him in the facility, so we continued on our way.
American CBP “vows to treat you with courtesy, dignity and respect”
When we got to the baggage claim area in the immigration room there were two other officers standing there (in masks), so I talked to them for a second:
Me: “Hey, are there any CBP supervisors in the terminal?”
Officer: “Is there anything I can help with?”
Me: “Some of your colleagues do not have masks. When I pointed it out, they claimed I was protected because I wore one, and also claimed that one of the officers could not wear the mask because he has a beard. You have a beard and it looks like you are wearing it well. I do not know how you work with these people. “
Officer: “We … work with all kinds of people. I’m sorry about that.”
He was handsome and explained that an older supervisor was only at the other immigration facility because they had limited staff at the moment. He said he might try to contact me about it, or suggested I file a complaint online with the CBP.