When The Mask Mandates End

As the Omicron surge recedes and we continue to see a sharp decline in positive COVID cases across the country, many places are dropping mask and vax requirements. When the mask mandates end, you’ll likely see me still wearing one in most public situations. There are many reasons. Here’s some off the top of my head…

  • Compassion. When I wear a mask I’m acting in compassion for others. Keeping those I interact with safe. Keeping those they interact with safe. Keeping my family safe.

  • Health. This is not just about COVID-19. I’m someone who normally catches at least one flu (regardless of getting a flu vaccine) and several cold/cruds over the course of the year. The last two years, I’ve not been sick with any flu, crud, or cold at all. First time in my memory that’s been the case. This means I also haven’t spread a flu, crud, or cold either. Part of this in due to my mask wearing (and yours, thank you).

  • Warmth. I used to be fairly hearty against the cold. But, as I’ve gotten older I’ve become less so. My head, especially, gets cold quickly. I actually like wearing a mask outside in the winter. It keeps my face warm.

  • Respect. When I enter a store, restaurant, or even a private home, I may not know what the owner’s preference is. Therefore, out of respect, I’ll default to wearing a mask unless I’m told it’s OK to do otherwise and then I’ll make my own choice based on my level of comfort. It’ll likely be the case that I’ll opt to keep mine on and I similarly expect the same respect in return.

  • I don’t mind it. I have lots of nice well-fitting masks in colors to match what I’m wearing. Because they fit well they don’t fog my glasses (and, if yours does, that’s because it does not fit and, therefore, you are less protected).

My approach this entire pandemic has been to try to sit with the idea that, without any mandates at all, most will take the precautions they feel most comfortable to them. That shops and public spaces will present their terms of engagement in good faith and we all can choose our comfort with that; with non-engagement as one of those choices. I may not agree with it but I at least have to accept it (Because what else can we do?).

Wearing a mask in most public situations makes me comfortable.