TO MASK UP OR NOT
THAT IS THE QUESTION
For over a year now, most of us have been wearing a mask. Mona Lisa did not have to wear one so when the CDC guidelines changed and said if we have been vaccinated then we are perfectly safe not wearing our masks out. It is all OK. Mona Lisa did not have to make this decision. The new guidelines still leave it up to individuals and business owners as to how they want to go about wearing a mask or not.
Local restaurants, stores, and customers are trying to figure this all out. The health directive now states the businesses can choose whether to require customers and employees to wear masks or not. This puts them in a difficult position. Every store has new signs put up to let customers know whether they must wear a mask while in their store or not. Some have decided to insist that all of their employees and customers wear a mask at all times. This is creating difficult issues for the managers of these businesses. Everyone wants to be safe and there is no way to tell if a person has been vaccinated or not.
Since wearing a mask is not required by law, it makes it hard to enforce. Many are trying to simply go by the word of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts. Many customers and employees are still wearing their masks. The guidelines are just too ambiguous and puts the responsibilities all on the business owners. Most are asking the general public to be respectful and considerate of all business owners who must decide which way to go with wearing masks.
People that say they have had COVID already so they have antibodies and do not need the vaccine do not know how long they will have the antibodies. In all fairness, no one knows so far, how long vaccinated people will have the antibodies. However, there is on-going research to know when it is time and necessary to get a booster vaccine. This is not the case for those who claim they have the antibodies due to having the virus. And how do their numbers add up? Do they go and get tested weekly or monthly? At least if they had the vaccines, it would be a more scientific and safe way to know when a booster may be required.
It is also very hard to reduce one's anxiety about now going maskless in public. People that have been vaccinated already feel anxious about going without their masks now. It was stated that as long as you have had your vaccinations, then you are safe to go inside without the mask now. Apparently, the big concern is that people who are not vaccinated are also going maskless. If the crowd gets too large, Dr. Fauci said the masks should still be worn by all. There was hope that when it was stated that no masks are necessary in most cases that this would encourage more people to go out and get vaccinated. Instead, it seems to have made some people feel that they can get away with whatever they want.
If you are fully vaccinated and are nervous about going out in public then according to Alicia Clark, author of Hack Your Anxiety, you should go easy on yourself. Everyone who has been following guidelines and wearing masks have become used to it. It is second nature to put the mask on to go out. Dr. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious diseases at the University of Buffalo in New York put it in these terms: "The mask has been their security blanket for 14+ months."
There still are a high number of people who have not been vaccinated. According to the CDC these people should most definitely be wearing a mask. Keep up to date on what is safe according to the experts. If we are being told it is safe to remove your mask in public then it is safe. However, if you don't feel comfortable yet, that is OK too. Take small steps. Eat on patios outside if you are not comfortable inside the restaurant. It will take time for many of us to feel comfortable going maskless in public again.
Please be patient!
We all must navigate through the guidelines in our own way and time.