Informal survey of face masks in downtown PT inspires wide range of emotions

Posted 7/31/20

It’s a Monday, one of the hottest of the year, and Port Townsend is packed. Downtown Water Street usually boasts an array of bustling visitors to the town, ready to explore the shops that line …

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Informal survey of face masks in downtown PT inspires wide range of emotions


It’s a Monday, one of the hottest of the year, and Port Townsend is packed. Downtown Water Street usually boasts an array of bustling visitors to the town, ready to explore the shops that line the waterfront. This year, they’re all required to wear masks.

I took an observational walk around on Friday and Monday afternoons, watching interactions between customers and staff, and talking with the shopkeepers on shift about their experience enforcing the mask mandate, which requires Washingtonians to wear a face-covering in public spaces and indoors.

Out of the 25 businesses that I went into, 15 had clear plastic shields creating a barrier between employees and customers, 19 had hand sanitizer available upon entry, and 24 were being manned by an employee wearing a mask.

Lesley Shelton was working at Summer House Design when I came in, and in the middle of a quandary. She had been winding up a small trinket on the desk when a young boy, wearing his small mask, reached up to play with it. In normal times, Shelton would have encouraged handling products placed at the counter. Now, not so much. 

She asked the adult who had accompanied the boy into the store what could be done, and the two resolved that if everyone sanitized their hands before and after, he could touch the toy.

“What do you do in that situation?” Shelton said afterward. “I know that people just want to get outside and feel good.”

Aside from wanting to help children, there are also obligations that businesses have to themselves to always be pushing products, making sales, driving up revenue that has been so low for so long. 

It’s difficult for businesses in downtown Port Townsend which rely heavily on seasonal tourism to turn away customers.

Luckily, tourists and locals alike have been generally compliant. Last weekend was the busiest in a long time for the Northwest Man, but David Valley said that he only had to tell two people to mask up out of the hundreds that crossed the threshold. 

Now that masks are required statewide, enforcing that policy within businesses has become easier. Workers at Sirens Pub and William James Bookseller both said that customers are wearing masks much more, and are more receptive to requests to do so, now that it is a law. 

Working in retail now requires one to be “constantly vigilant,” said Paul Stafford of William James Bookseller.

Not everyone agrees with the mask mandate. 

Among businesses, Derr Jewelry was the only one of the 25 I went into that did not have all employees wearing masks, nor were there clear plastic face shields in place between customers and staff. Shop owner Jeffrey Derr declined to elaborate on his business’s policies regarding the mask mandate.

Among customers, the lack of adherence to the mandate comes in various forms. Marvin Copeland-Griggs, who works at the Green Eyeshade, has received resistance to requests for customers to wear their masks, or wear them properly. Twice, he said, he asked people to pull their masks up over their nose, and the individual “stomped out.” 

Copeland-Griggs also said that a customer had cited a constitutional violation in response to the request to wear a mask.

Several of the shopkeepers noted a difference between locals and tourists in rates of mask-wearing. Employees and owners at Joglo, the PT Shirt Company, the Conservatory, and the Lively Olive Tasting Bar all explained that the two groups treat the mandate differently; in general, locals wear their masks on the streets without being asked, while visitors to town are more likely to only don masks upon entering a business. 


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Stephani Thompson

As this article references me indirectly, I would like to add context, because there are two sides to every story and we should always question a singular perspective. I have been an employee at Derr Jewelry since Jeffrey's move to his Water Street location over two years ago. Since the reopening of businesses in Jefferson County, Derr Jewelry has taken every measure in our power to create an environment conducive to the ever-changing COVID-19 recommendations, and environment in which our customers will feel safe and comfortable to be in. During Ms. Morrison's visit to the very busy shop last Friday, she failed to include the following factual information...

1. In the roughly 1100 sq. feet of space in the shop, we have a unique set up that allows us maintain more than the required 6' distance from our customers at all times.

2. The direct mention of "clear plastic face shields" as a suggestion perhaps comes solely from Ms. Morrison. According to the Washington State Dept. of Health site, there is no mention of the necessity of clear plastic face shields, nor have I witnessed the use of these in ANY of our downtown businesses on Water Street.

3. Everyday we make sure hand sanitizer is readily available to our customers in several locations, there are designated markers on the floor to direct customers on how they can safely maintain their distance from others.


5. After any touching of our inventory, we sanitize it and steam it.. but I digress, this is more about face coverings.

6. Mr. Derr told Ms. Morrison we have had no issues or problems and have had 100% compliance from all of our customers. Apparently this was not sufficient information to Ms. Morrison and she continued to try to interview us with several customers waiting to which Mr. Derr went to assist the next customer.

7. Ms. Morrison called the store directly after leaving to once again, ask me about the mask mandate. I replied, we have had 100% compliance from all persons entering the business. When she rudely pushed about my not wearing a mask, since I consider this a personal question, I gave a personal answer. I have a rare digestive disease and fight nausea all day long, up until a year ago, I ate primarily through a tube in my jejunum. Wearing masks of all types makes me quite ill. I have a legitimate disability and due to this, I maintain my distance from customers, wash my hands frequently, and make sure to perform self health checks before going to work. As per the website, there are clear guidelines exempting those with disabilities from wearing a face covering.

I find it very disappointing that as a society we have appeared to stray from the original purpose to wearing masks, to protect those vulnerable to the spread of COVID, and to do our part to take care of one another and have moved into a very judgmental role in questioning and scrutinizing others' choices. Every day, many people fight internal battles with invisible illnesses, we should be cognizant of our fellow neighbors who may be struggling before being so swift to pass judgement.

If you took the time to read this lengthy explanation, I thank you. It gives me hope that we really are all "in this together" and want to do our best to support one another in this very difficult time.

Saturday, August 1, 2020
Stephani Thompson

My apologies, the square footage listed is not accurate as that is our entire space. Our main area is more along the lines of a 600 sq foot estimate.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

I would like to know the scientific method the business owners listed in the last paragraph used to distinguish between "locals" and "tourists". After 44 years dealing with local and visitors and 24 years here I never know which is which until I speak with anyone. Even then lines become blurred as some visitors have second homes here, family they visit regularly, or come specifically from areas of varying distances to specifically shop with me.

I see noses hanging out, very droopy masks and other variations in all groups after speaking with individuals. The science my manager pointed me to is that you have to run behind a full blown jogger with covid for 5 minutes outside to get a significant viral load. Hot days are going to see more people of all kinds removing masks outside for comfort. Each INDIVIDUAL makes INDIVIDUAL decisions on mask use, including one I had recently who ignored signage and argued with me feeling the need for no mask. With respectful customers waiting for our info we give verbally and with signage at the door I had little time for his hanging around arguing and made sure he left as quickly as possible . I have no idea where he was from. I do know where he was coming from and have to wonder how the rest of his day and life went and is going. Stay home, wherever that is.

In the them and us black and white world we all give lip service to changing and understanding lazy thinking and reporting are lessons to be learned. Typing anyone limits your understanding of your world.

No story on full up parking some days with regular "locals" hogging space "tourists" foolishly obey signage for. The City Manager responsible is "almost perfect' according to a Leader story and the Appointed Mayor. Lazy thinking and reporting. We all can fall into it.

Saturday, August 1, 2020
Jüsteks Hale

Well, people *have* worn masks at the Derr jewelry location, back when Lila Drake was on fire; that story never made the paper, either.

When both these businesses have closed their doors for good and something useful to locals has moved in, instead, we can all come back to this article to understand why.

Saturday, August 1, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage


I mention lazy thinking and get a great example from Jüsteks Hale. I tried and tried to get some focus and meaning from your comment. Please detail the Lila Drake/mask cryptic reference you make. Enquiring minds want to know.

I must be one of the two business you say are not useful to locals. Let me bombard your lazy mind regarding mine. I have no idea of the origin of the items the other business sells and to whom. My comment focused on looking at INIDVIDUALS. Here we go.

I finance and support many local artisans and folks who mill wood. Some are indeed regional. Some needs are not met locally. I truly wish they were but a culture is dying. I don't import. My customer base is mixed. Yesterday Saturday a local from just up the hill picked up a table top we finished and milled the wood for within 11 miles of here. Local enough? Another person at the end of the day selected an unfinished piece of locally milled maple she was able to walk to her residence after I attached locally produced metal legs to it. Local enough? The day before we sold a high end native carving to a person from Kala Point. That is a PT zip code. I have a workshop where I have mentored a person who quit police work with PTSD. He lives about 11 miles from PT. Local enough> I hope to work with many more like him. My greatest reward.

I also spoke and visited with many from out of town with various ties to this region. Most all were nice folk. There are always some who are lazy thinkers and actors. From near and far. Even in and especially in City Government. When my business closes after at least 44 years I know objectively that an unusual cultural touchstone is gone forever. One of the last of its kind. I am thanked daily by folk from near and far, old and new friends for the effort put in to keep the doors open. Especially now. We have record business since re opening with far fewer sales. Just for your education Jüsteks Hale. I oversee something much larger than myself. Part if the responsibility is at times to shed light on corrupted thinking in Port Townsend City Government. And lazy thinkers.

So, Jüsteks Hale, please put in the effort to give background on the "Lila Drake was on fire" story you say the Leader missed and you teased us with. Don't be lazy. Please understand you don't know sometimes what you don't know and labeling anyone is lazy.

I label the Chamber, Main Street the No Term Limit Council, Appointed 3 term Mayor, and City Manager as corrupted by allowing the discrimination against anyone not knowing of the parking tolerance policy and following posted limits. The leader is quiet, for a minute it started down a slippery slope of looking into things then turned away. I label all "local neighbors" who take parking spots daily and for years as negative individuals engaging in self serving lazy thinking. I do understand there will be no change to the ingrained corrupted thinking so many engage in to keep jobs and social position. I would be lazy not to point out the dynamics. Over and over again. I am not part of it. I am proud not to be part of it. It is obvious discrimination against an un knowing group of both locals and visitors.the Appointed Mayor with her own private parking lot lazily ignores. As does her City Manager. I have a diverse base of artisans and customers. I am proud of it. You wont see a story about what I do in the Leader. I am proud that I don't need it. Tell your Lila Drake story now Jüsteks Hale. Don't be lazy like so many others. Snark attacks from just out of sight are very lazy thinking. Thanks for the chance to once again try to get some INDIVIDUALS to start some deeper digging within themselves. Or not.

Sunday, August 2, 2020
Nathaniel Hale

Hey Harv,

Bro, you're not a victim, here. *eyeroll*

Wisdom teaches that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. For years you've been ranting and raving in these columns, and nothing whatsoever has changed; yet, you continue to expect different results.

You keep blaming everyone but yourself, for your problems. Sooner or later, you'll get around to that machine-gun focus accidentally pointing to a mirror. Pay attention to that moment.

Also, that little corner you're hoarding, would be a great place for grocery and marine provisions store. People would park far away and walk there for things they actually need. Just sayin'.

Monday, August 3, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

There are plenty of places for you Nathaniel to rent space and put your life savings on the line for your idea. Snark attack again with "hoarding a corner". I contribute as you and Justkes distort and build on the falsehood. Obviously you got nothing from my explanation to Justeks who snark attacked as you just did.

When you do rent space and have it surrounded by folks preventing access perhaps you will get it. Or not.

I do keep hammering at the root cause of so many problems, 17 million debt, 1.2 million visitor center "park" without public input, decaying roads, and City Manager system easily corrupted. I also note nothing will change due to the inbred political structure here.

Stinson is history. Many say my "ranting" had a major effect there. Of course there was a back up for here mentods. Most of my time is taken doing positive things with positive people. When I see a lazy thinking party line towing mind set I do try to upset the apple cart of rotten apples. We all have hobbies. This actually takes very little time. I also frequently quote Orwell, especially

In this game that we're playing, we

can't win. Some kinds of failure are

better than other kinds, that's all.

The victim my friend is you. And the public. Self inflicted. I will be moving on in good time. I have no illusion that lazy thinking will follow me as it did here. Lazy is just easier for so many who confuse propaganda with news. I do frequent reality checks on sanity with people I know are very sane. One just advised me "the buffalo are gone". I took it as a metaphor for spending customers. Business is up with less sales and adaptive focus. Insane isn't it?? The buffalo are no longer easily shot from the train is the real truth.

Distorting what a person says and building on the distortion is a very old tactic. Best to you, unknowing victim.

Monday, August 3, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

Googled your name/PT Nathaniel Hale. Nothing. Please let us know your aren't really an employee of the Appointed Mayor or similar tool. My Google search did bring up another comment where you told me to leave PT and questioned my mental health. You have a theme.

Reminds me of Paul Rice, employee of Appointed Mayor Sandoval who ran for Council and is on the Planning Committee and is involved with the failed Cherry Street toxic dump apartment project telling me to "quickly shut up" when I was working on getting Appointed Mayor Stinson "Patsy" out of office. Paul didn't respond to any specific questions I posed to him then. Coming out strong in favor of censorship is really a bold if not deep thought move.

You credit me as the reason there is no mini mart in the historic district. I know cheetos and coke are important elements in some diets that aid in some kinds of thinking. In your dream to replace me the money taken in could go to major corporations rather than those I describe in my "rant" that my business helps sustain. Since my first comment here 2 more pieces of furniture sold to "locals", one just a block away.

To show you are not just another shallow thinking tool please tell me the profit margin of mini mart food and drink. Please tell me the daily income that would be needed to just break even. Please tell me the average sale amount at a mini mart and how many customers per day would have to be served year round.

Please tell me the cost to re configure the interior of this historic building with new floors. Please tell me the cost for coolers for beverages. Please tell me the cost to knock out walls so you would not be robbed blind and could watch your life savings turned into cheetos, coke, candy bars and twinkies. Please tell me the cost of a license to sell beer and or wine. Please tell me the increased cost wholesale your goods would cost you compared to Safeway or similar mini marts in percentage points.

Please tell me if my landlord who loves this building would be willing to let it be gutted and left ruined if your dream failed, needing to be restored to its historic configuration that I honor and have paid for these last 24 years through 911, the 2008 crash and now covid. Am I "hoarding" this location or supporting it long term for both locals and visitors? Seriously answer these questions or come off as just another shallow thinker taking a cheap shot at me.

My "rants" are a drum beat to get the fact that the root cause of so many financial and social problems here are due to the No Term Limit Council, Appointed Mayor, and City Manager System that has been absolutely corrupted for reasons you can't seem to grasp.

Recently I posted a letter to the City Attorney that is still unanswered regarding the City Manager shutting down streets for special interests. I posted a letter from a police volunteer that spoke for the Chief of Police and placed the deconstruction of parking and other negative things to the Appointed Mayor and No Term Limit Council. I posted an email from past City Manager Timmons acknowledging parking disfunction and promising action that never came and now is being kicked down the road by his "almost perfect" replacement.

There was concern by the previous and exited editor of the leader about public process there. I could go on but that for you is just ranting. These are the words of others who know fact. I just tied them together.

I have many specific accomplishments from my "rants", most recently giving some history regarding the takeover and limiting the takeover of Fort Worden. Property of All of The People of the State of Washington.

Getting rid of a person who as appointed mayor was described as arrogant and above any public input. A tool. What has not happened sometimes is as important as what is stopped or is not stopped. Shallow thinkers see only twinkies and coke.

I always ask to be corrected or have my ongoing education on human nature furthered. I only get snarky crap from you. And Paul. And similar. Your stretch to the mini mart blame is really classic shallow thinking. I would go on with more detail but for some it is the same as asking my dog to fix me breakfast. Know the limitations of some. I keep up the drum beat for others. Time to post what yo do for a living and some detail as to who you are "Nate".

Insanity is electing the same core group and expecting different results.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Jüsteks Hale

Here's the thing, Harv. You're always harping on and on about "no term limits city council" members and how everybody else has an "us versus them" mentality except you, who allegedly just wants to work with everybody else, as long as we do everything your way.

Here's a hot tip for you. The majority of people in the city want the city council members we have. Otherwise, they wouldn't be there. We keep voting them in year after year, because we are OK with the job they are doing. And you keep typing and typing and getting good exercise for your fingers, but the reason nothing changes it's because the majority of people around you are OK with how things are going.

So that leaves you, all by yourself, typing and typing and getting good exercise for your fingers. It's really neither here nor there to most of the rest of us if you stay or go. But I'm sure the PT Leader thankful for your constant and underwent relenting participation, because it drives up their advertising dollars.

Another really useful store that could go into the corner you're hoarding, is a cellular phone shop. Maybe even one that what the heck, has a postal outlet in it. That would be so helpful to the marina and everyone downtown, who just needs to go get some things sorted out with their cell service while they're on lunch break. Tourists, too! I'm sure people would be willing to park pretty far away and walk to a cell-phone shop. People will walk to something that's extremely useful to them. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

Here's the thing whoever you are, another Hale that can't be identified. There are players and bystanders, and empty souls blowing into town looking to belong who will join in a very faulty and corrupted tribe. I understand some anonymous typers can have the function of trying to shut down anyone speaking up.

Bystanders have half baked ideas about what it takes to run a business and expenses. Please make me an offer on the place I am "hoarding" and I will be gone. You and other anonymous "Nathan" can step up and have your soulless corporate serving mini mart/cell phone store. You expect some unknown to do it. Your legacy of typing and typing is yours. Mine is mine. "Nathan" has theirs, such as only those who are rich that can afford to give out free rent should be landlords. Recent comment. Another person answered Nathan. I didn't need to.

Fact is some things have changed. Next election perhaps some will have another point of view regarding how their representatives have represented them. Nothing changes overnight. I absolutely understand the new city manager is not fulfilling his contract by continuing not to fund all departments. I absolutely understand the interim police chief he hired is not fulfilling his oath of office enforcing all laws. I absolutely understand that is "near perfect" according to the current No Term Limit Council and Appointed Mayor, with her own private parking lot that will tow your ass if you mess with her turf. I absolutely understand that it is very possible that "the public" is not concerned. I absolutely understand where that leads in the long run.

Now tell your Lila Drake story. Better yet clear up who you are and where you live. I am the guy "hoarding" a corner and contributing for 24 years here. Why would my stupid opinion warrant some coming after me?

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God (your choice of brand). It was never between you and them anyway.

~Mother Teresa”

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

It needs to be pointed out that Justwhatever Anonymous believes he speaks for everyone in Port Townsend or claims to in his last comment. My "harping" asks readers to consider all facts and think for themselves. I always am open to corrections or more information. Every Time. We all can learn.

I think the Leader is doing a dis service letting anonymous commenters mislead without any responsibility. Justwhatever tries to isolate me as being "all by myself". The last Council election showed that indeed I am not "all by myself" in the views and observations I present "relentlessly". This piece started about masks. It is time to unmask propaganda and have all know who is claiming and saying what. City politicians or their tools can adopt a handle and extoll their virtues.

The current item on the plate is the City Manager/Appointed Mayor situation and in house review. (Glowing) Please look at the link here and note propaganda and lack of answers from Mauro and Sandoval. I think a significant number of voters are beginning to see the light of day as the last Appointed Mayor being defeated by a significant margin showed. Please check out more information here in comments and the article and think for yourself. Some attacking me, indicates my thought threaten some.

I would never claim to speak for anyone but myself. Anonymous Justwhatever claims to speak for you. I hope others speak and think for themselves. It is the only way out of the ditch the current 3 time Appointed Mayor and going on 20 year Council member got this city into. With seeming impunity. Was the current city manager chosen to serve all the people of just a few? You think for yourself. I know you can.,70231?

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Justin Hale

Harvey,,, it's a Hale of a situation.

Monday, August 10, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

A real Hale storm of lazy thinking here. Even Facebook doesn't allow anonymous folk. Stand proud of your thoughts however deep or shallow. PT Leader is doing a dis service.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020