While further researching how many other misguided articles had emerged conflating face-mask directives with the old prejudiced rhetoric about "shirt and shoes", I found a particularly upsetting example from one Andru Volinsky, a New Hampshire executive councillor and gubernatorial candidate.  Despite appearing to actually understand the science behind fighting viral spread and to some extent the origin of the nasty signs, he not only still promulgates the same harmful "shoes, shirt, mask" rhetoric, he sent his same spew to a bunch of different outlets which resulted in a "viral spread" of his misleading words.  Even though I was chasing this down several weeks after the fact, I considered it worthwhile to try and mitigate some of the resulting damage, and emailed him the following.  It's sort of a blend of the previous Key West and CNN-contributor letters, and because I feel a special kinship with New Hampshire a mere 20 miles to my north, I include specifics about that.

This is a battle to be waged in many more places.

Date: Sat, Jun 13 2020 12:47:48
To: andru.volinsky@nh.gov
Subject: you are misleading the public

Greetings --

I am someone you never heard of, from the Boston area, which
has no bearing on what I say here, but it needs to be said.

I must object to your op-eds on or around 19-May to the Concord Monitor
and the Union Leader, in which you seem to have confused reasonable
health-protective measures with unrelated and misinformed suggestions.
You are evidently not aware that the "shirt and shoes" line is nothing
but decades-old discriminatory rhetoric that frankly reminds us of
previous conflicted and upsetting times in our country.  The phrase
was not a "dubious response", it was precisely targeted and is still
just as discriminatory as ever.  By conflating that irrelevance with
the well-founded mask guidelines from the CDC and others, you have just
thrown more fuel onto the fires of divisiveness.  It completely sends
the wrong message, and trivializes the science of how we actually
protect each other against the spread of COVID-19.

First, please understand where I'm coming from.  A small but nonzero
segment of our society chooses to avoid wearing shoes as much as
possible, for health and mobility and other personal reasons.  Research
has detailed the long-term harmful effects of modern footwear, so we
don't need or want it.  I have been a "barefooter" for many years, and
know I'm a better person because of it.  I routinely go hiking in the
woods and climb mountains and stride confidently across rugged outdoor
terrain and urban spaces alike, without any need or desire to encase my
feet in something artificial.  My feet are quite good at taking care of
themselves as nature intended.  I'll grant you that the lifestyle is
not that common, but there's nothing wrong with it and it certainly
does not harm anyone else.

In fact, in more normal times I visit New Hampshire and happily hike
the Whites and other recreation areas, all without footwear, and it
feels awesome.  It's my unique relationship with the granite of the
Granite State, where I am faster and more surefooted on the trails than
many of the shod people.  I am also the person who motivated your own
Tourism department to finish the job of removing the "shirt and shoes"
signs from your highway rest stops.  Hunt down Bob Vachon over at the
BEA and ask him about that.

Take a look at the website barefooters.org and read some of the many
reasons that letting our feet roam free and unconstrained makes us
better humans in many ways.  Choosing to forgo footwear is a simple
human right, supported by thousands of years of evidence, and only
makes us stronger.  There is, however, a lot of old prejudice and false
mythology against the practice, especially in the US.  It is often an
uphill battle to gain simple acceptance, especially here in the US
where many years ago, human feet [of all things!] became politicized.

Please google these words together: "shirt" "shoes" "service" "origin"
and read about why the hostile, unwelcoming signs started appearing in
storefronts back in the day.  They followed the pattern of earlier
signs and exclusions from the Jim Crow era.  They never had any factual
basis, and the excuses added later about "health code" or the presence
of food or premises liability are long-standing lies.  You can verify
that for yourself with more simple searches.  The only intent was to
turn away "undesireables", notably blacks and hippies at the time, for
no rational or scientific reason.  It's textbook discrimination with
racial undertones, which is hardly a connection you want to be making
right now.  The entire reactionary idea sprang from and represents the
same underlying syndrome that has been tearing our cities apart --
exclusion and marginalization of "the other", for whatever arbitrary
excuses can be dreamed up.  This is not something to be celebrated
or perpetuated as you have done.

Face masks, on the other hand, have solid scientific reasons behind
their use to mitigate virus transmission risk, and I'm personally
surprised it took the CDC as long as it did to issue the guidelines
now in effect.  I am wholly in favor of masks for what they do, and
we have seen the Schlieren gas-flow videos that support it.  Your
objection to the "reopen" rallies was spot-on, and we've now seen that
problem multiplied a thousandfold in all the protests.  But that has
absolutely nothing to do with footwear, and enduring the discomfort
and clumsiness from shoes simply on someone else's arbitrary directive
*is* an unacceptable barrier for some of us.

I suspect that the health experts on your Zoom call were discussing
masks and sanitizer, not shoes.  Recent official advice warns that
coronavirus particles remain viable for several *days* on the materials
that most shoes are constructed from, whereas on ordinary human skin
they are generally inactivated within an hour.  Virologists have
studied these things; there are papers on it.  Do you wash your
shoes before you come back into your home?  It is a lot easier to
disinfect our *feet* the same way we do our hands, and in fact I
personally do just that with an alcohol sanitizing solution before I
even get back in my own car to bring the groceries home.

Those old unfriendly signs are not nearly as common nowadays as you may
think, and have disappeared from most business entrances over time if
they were ever there at all.  Quite a few high-profile corporations
have realized that moving to more welcoming, inclusive policies is
simply better for business.  Wal-mart, Target, Walgreens, Dunk's, the
list goes on -- you generally won't find any draconian statements about
a customer's appearance at their doors, for good reason.  Sometimes an
individual employee might voice some sort of objection, but in such
cases is acting only on their own misinformation, not corporate
directive, and simply needs to be better educated.

So by lumping these unrelated things together you are sending a badly
mixed message, as if shirts and shoes and masks somehow combine into
some kind of magic ensemble that wards off coronavirus.  Promulgating
such nonsense is harmful, and just sows more divisiveness into society.
Someone undoubtedly thought that the wording was "cute" back in the
sixties, but in reality  it was never cute, it was simply unfriendly
and bigoted from the outset.  In factual reality, there is no point in
demanding footwear inside a store, restaurant, or venue.  It is unfair
to establishments to suggest that they impose such baseless bias upon
the public, especially if they don't support it to begin with.

A letter to the Concord Monitor, dated 6/8/2020 entitled "masks and
our personal germ bubble" from a Ms. Zeller, is a perfect example of
how articles like yours simply confuse the public.  In the letter she
appears to believe that "now there is a law against entering stores
with bare feet".  That is completely untrue, and I suggest you ask your
own state health department about that.  When you endorse falsehoods
in your official capacity, you do a serious disservice to a wide swath
of the public.  Perhaps you should contact the Monitor and reach out
to Ms. Zeller and set her straight; it's the least you could do to
help repair some damage.  She also does not understand that routinely
barefoot people do not get or spread foot fungus, as light and dry
air is the best prevention.

You would do well to not simply dismiss this, but give it the thought
(and maybe background research) it deserves.  I would earnestly suggest
posting a followup article to the same outlets where your original
piece went, expressing how these concepts should not be mixed up, and
to perhaps even acknowledge the truth that leaving the shoes at home
has benefits that may surprise people.  I wear a mask to protect your
health; you can reciprocate by not marginalizing how I protect mine.
In today's situation, it's even more important for us to keep our
facts straight and not yield to groundless fear and outdated lies.

Thank you for listening, if you got this far.  I hope that if you
succeed to the governorship you can keep "live free or die" and "follow
the science" together at the forefront of your leadership philosophy.