To Mask or Not to Mask?

That seems to be the question now, doesn’t it?

Because so many Americans are on their way to being fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control have recently decided that the public mask mandate may no longer be necessary. Of course, there is a caveat. The recommendation is that if you are fully vaccinated, you should not feel as if a mask is needed when out in public. However, if you have not received the COVID vaccine, the recommendation is to continue wearing a mask in public.

Being one of those who was lucky enough to have been vaccinated early this year (2nd dose on February 4), I definitely fall into the group of folks who should not feel obligated to continue wearing my mask. But it’s a Superman mask… so it’s cool.

Prior to the new CDC recommendation, the question has often been posed on social media: “Once the mask mandate is lifted, will you continue wearing a mask anyway?”

To this, I have basically said that, yes, I will continue wearing a mask.

Now, I know that a lot of people out there who embraced the mask early on in the pandemic were doing so out of a concern for others. The thought being that if I wear my mask and happen to be carrying coronavirus, then I’m less likely to pass it on to anyone around me, especially if they are also wearing a mask. That’s a very non-selfish reason for people to wear their masks.

But now that we’re more than a year into this thing, my reasons have transformed into something a little more self-centered. Sorry… that’s just how it is.

The thing is, I never picked up COVID from anyone during this pandemic. But I also never developed so much as a cold. I never got the flu in the last 18 months. And I usually get something at least once a year that runs its course and inevitably turns into chronic bronchitis that sticks around for approximately 23 years. But that didn’t happen in 2020 and it has yet to happen in 2021. The only difference in my life has been the mask I have worn every time I’ve gone out in public.

See? Self-centered reasoning.

But now it feels like it’s all about appearance. I visited a convenience store today which had previously required masks of all customers coming inside. I noticed a new sign on the door that leaves it up to the individual now. Following the CDC’s new recommendations, the sign suggests that if one is fully vaccinated, they should feel free to enter without a mask. However, the sign also tells people who have not received the vaccine to please continue wearing a mask.

Why is this about appearance? Because if you enter a public space without a mask, people can safely assume that you have received the vaccine. But if you continue wearing a mask, they’ll assume you haven’t been vaccinated.

But then there are those who will see you without the mask and wonder if you’re just an anti-mask person who may have been caught on viral video for complaining about management trying to force you to wear a face covering. So if I don’t wear a mask in the store, what if people around me assume I’m just some jerk who refuses to wear a mask? Because there’s a good chance if I’ve refused to wear a mask for the last year, I’m likely to fall into the category of those who have refused to believe COVID even exists and therefore would also, most likely, be an anti-vaxxer, too.

So do I wear a mask and continue protecting myself from more than just COVID-19? Or do I remove my mask to show others that I’m fully vaccinated and I feel safe in public?

Here’s where I’m at… I will continue wearing my mask whenever I’m in an indoor public space, especially where I will likely find myself in close quarters with people I don’t know or trust to have received the vaccine. But if I’m outside, unless I’m in a crowd (which I tend to avoid anyway), I’ll go without the mask. And if there’s ever a situation when I leave my mask in the car or accidentally leave it at home, I’m not gonna feel guilty about it.

But more often than not, if you catch me at the grocery store wearing my Superman mask, be aware that I am fully vaccinated. I’ve just decided I don’t mind keeping the mask on if I can avoid even a little bit of the common cold.

Feature Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

8 thoughts on “To Mask or Not to Mask?

  1. Life of a first doser over here: If I was in your situation, I would do the exact same thing! I have stopped wearing a mask when I walk outside since it it warmer now, and if you combine that with allergies and my poor level of physical fitness, it is just way to hard to breath under a cloth mask while out and being active LOL I’m also a speed walker so there is no leisurely pace happening to help out. But also I know way too many people will take advantage of the “if you are fully vaccinated” thing and just say they are when they aren’t.

    Also you have *one* mask?! Oh my goodness… seriously? Lol just one?

    Liked by 1 person

    • What else is there? I have a mask with the Superman logo on it. There is clearly no better mask in existence. To be clear, though, I wash it every now and then, just so it will smell like fabric softener for a couple weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahah touché – I forget that some people don’t have the same “oh my gosh I need cute options!” Mind set as I do 😂😂 there are 42 on my shelf. In two piles: 2-layers and 3. Plus a box of level 1 medical masks cos at work now we can’t wear just cloth we must wear a medical mask. I also have a box of medical ones in my desk but those were purchased by the school and provided to teachers to use.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We went out to dinner last night and I forgot my mask in the car (thought I had one in my purse) and on the door of the restaurant it said that masks were still required. I thought about going back to grab my mask, but then realized I had my vaccine card in my purse and just chanced it. We get inside to find that most of the staff aren’t even wearing masks! That was a tad irritating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, same boat here. Or at least similar. I’m fully vaccinated, but will continue to mask up until the percentage of vaccinated people is up. I don’t care if people think I’m anti-vax as long as they don’t have to worry about their safety. I’m not concerned about lack of other colds/flus, but I also shake those things quickly. Honestly though, especially around flu season, I wouldn’t mind wearing a mask on public transportation. I was at an outdoor mall on Monday and was surprised that pretty much everyone was still wearing masks though most of the stores were only “recommending” it. Another rule of thumb I think about is whether the employees are still wearing masks. The biggest change for me has been being able to organize a fully vaccinated, mask-free game of ultimate frisbee. I wanted nothing to do with running while masked.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are still in lockdown over here, and I won’t get my second dose until August, so a bit of a different boat! I generally don’t wear a mask outdoors if I’m say walking in a park where it’s not every crowded, but do on a downtown street where there’s a lot of people around. But sits still always required indoors and of course, since I’m not anti-mask or any of those things, I wear them!

    Like you I also get flus and bronchitis, last year was the first year of my LIFE I didn’t. So probably when the situation is the same here, I’ll wear it until most of the population is fully vaccinated and then when I dont feel like getting sick on the subway in the winter haha. The anti-mask/anti-vaxx thing isnt as big here thankfully, but would still be appalled to be mistaken for one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband and I were just talking about something similar. We went to a Starbucks that had the sign that said “if you are vaccinated then you don’t have to wear the mask.” We thought it was funny that this is left up to the honor system… because not going to lie, but Americans can’t be trusted. 😀
    In full transparency, neither of us are vaccinated. I wore my mask, but he did not wear his… and nobody questioned it. So the assumption part is very real. I truly feel (and please don’t hate me) that with the CDC making it’s recommendations and stores opening back up, then it’s up to you. If you don’t feel comfortable going to a store where people who aren’t vaccinated might not be wearing masks (because that is allowed) then either stay home or wear your mask. So that’s where I’m at.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Something I realized, then told a couple friends: most people wearing the masks aren’t doing so because they fear dying. They fear peer pressure. They are afraid to truly think for themselves. As such, they are subject to mass hypnotism, which is what we’re seeing. It’s quite fascinating, but also very troubling, but explains so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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