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Cones of shame? Maine orders restaurant servers to don face shields like dog collars in bizarre Covid-19 guidelines

Cones of shame? Maine orders restaurant servers to don face shields like dog collars in bizarre Covid-19 guidelines
The Maine state government is in the doghouse with residents after an order mandating that restaurant staff wear face shields upside down, attached at the collar, which netizens dubbed “cones of shame” more befitting a family pet.

The latest Covid-19 prevention checklist issued by Democratic Governor Janet Mills lays out a series of rules one might expect amid the pandemic – such as good hygiene and social distancing. But one guideline for restaurants has raised eyebrows, demanding that servers don collared face shields reminiscent of those fixed to dogs after a medical procedure.

“Front-of-house staff may wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering only if the shield is designed to be worn inverted, attaching below the face (e.g. as a collar) and open at the top of the shield, with the shield extending above the eyes and laterally to the ears,” the guidelines say.

Face shields that are open at the bottom, directing breath downward, are not acceptable replacements for face coverings for front-of-house staff.

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While the rule only applies to those who decline to wear a typical face mask, netizens have hounded the Mills administration over the outlandish guideline, mocking the collared shields as demeaning “cones of shame.”

“Let me guess, Governor [Mills] is a Democrat. Dog cones for the people. We call that the cone of shame in our house because my dog hates it. Imagine how people feel wearing this stupid thing,” one user said on Twitter.

Many assumed the news was a joke, perhaps thanks in part to a viral Photoshopped image of a smiling waitress decked out in what appears to be a Coca Cola-themed lampshade. Though the photo is a fake, it helped to bring attention to the very real face shield rule, which has largely escaped the attention of national media.

Other “cones of shame” have made appearances elsewhere throughout the Covid-19 crisis, with netizens sharing examples of similar measures taken in other locales, including one eatery in Paris with transparent body shields suspended from the ceiling. Perhaps diners in Maine should consider their options.

Maine has recorded a total of 4,253 coronavirus infections and 128 deaths, according to official data, putting it well below other states in the northeast that have faced far more virulent outbreaks, such as New York and New Jersey. Despite the slower rate of infection, the state has been under varying degrees of lockdown since March, following Mills’ initial “stay healthy at home” order.

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