Friday, May 28, 2021

Masks off

Life is slowly returning to normal around here as mask mandates are lifted and people begin to be out and about more. 

We are in a dinner club and we resumed meeting last night. We met one time last summer at an outside pavilion, and although it was enjoyable, it was nerve-wracking trying to stay an appropriate distance from folks, especially since a few didn't care about abiding by the guidelines anyway. 

My employer is bringing most folks back onsite in September. I work for a regional financial institution with a presence in 15 states. We have about 19,000 employees and nearly all the non-customer facing ones have worked remotely for 14 months now. A lot of folks would prefer to continue remote working, but for most, it will be back to the office. 

While my employer is not requiring employees get the vaccine, it is being strongly encouraged. I have three direct-reports, and I am supposed to encourage them to get it. I know I have at least one who is resisting it. 

While I am 100 percent in favor of folks getting vaccinated, and I have gotten the vaccine myself, I have decided not to fret over those who don't. If they want to continue taking the risk, that is their decision. I tend to think it's a selfish one, but again, I'm not going there. (And I acknowledge those with medical or religious objections -- even though I don't know anyone who has either). 

From what I'm reading, it seems I have a less than slim chance of getting COVID from an unvaccinated person, and if I do, it will be mild. So I'm not going to sweat it. 

We have not gone back to church although we will soon. We watch it online and I've seen very few masks among the congregants, so until I got the vaccine, I had no intention of going. 

This past year has been a lesson in humanity, hasn't it? Here where I live, a group of parents sued -- that's right, sued -- the school district for requiring masks. (Fortunately, a judge had the good sense to dismiss it). Last year at a local farmers market, a person wore a mask that had these words: "This mask is as worthless as our mayor." 

I suppose that's because the mayor imposed a mask requirement. Our governor, rather than imposing statewide requirements, decided to leave it to local governments. 

Those are just a couple of examples of some of the complaining I witnessed by folks who believed putting a piece of cloth over the nose and mouth violated their rights. 

I just never thought it that much of an imposition to wear a mask. Did wearing them curb the incidents of new cases? I can't prove it, but I think it did. And in my opinion, by wearing one, you were saying you cared enough about the people with whom you came in contact to take every reasonable precaution. 

In my view, it's that love-your-neighbor thing. 

I still see folks wearing them here and there, and I'm still wearing one in the grocery or hardware store when I go. 

From what I read, we have not reached herd immunity, nor will we anytime soon. But case numbers are going in the right direction and I don't think we're going back to the restrictions we learned to live with. 


Debby said...

Our church has just reopened. Church leadership had a meeting about how best to deal with masks. Some want to be done with 'living in fear' and have been vocal about it. Although everyone at the meeting felt as if masks should continue through the summer, until such a time as the kids are vaccinated too, we expect blowback from some of the congregants. We don't know how this is going to go. We don't know what will happen once tourists start coming in from every where to enjoy our area. It's hard to plan anything specific because we don't know what will happen next.

Kelly said...

There are still times I feel more comfortable wearing a mask, but I'm trying to embrace the idea that I don't have to anymore in many places. I'll admit it feels strange not to wear one! What I really don't get is the 'powers that be' telling us that it's all okay as long as those who are unvaccinated still wear theirs. Do they really think the unvaccinated are all going to be totally honest about that? Many of that kind weren't wearing a mask to start with!

Ellen D. said...

I am fully vaccinated but still where a mask when shopping or close to others as it just feels like the right thing to do.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We are still asked to wear a mask inside shops and to keep distance here in the UK - everyone seems to follow the rules on this score.

Jeff said...

I still wear a mask in stores and, except when I am at the pulpit, in church. It does seem weird how quickly things are changing.

Ed said...

I pretty much was nodding my head the entire post. Like you, I'm been pretty ambivalent about others choice to not get vaccinated. Most of those that I know who have chosen not too have already had Covid and have some level of immunity though not as much as those of us who have been vaccinated. I assume that means they are more at risk at getting again and not much risk of passing it on to me.

Our church has been open since about June of last year and to date, not one infection has been linked to the church. But we've been running a pretty tight ship. Initially we were seated three pews apart and six feet or more if in the same pew, masks were required, there has been no singing and no social interaction was allowed before or after mass. It worked well. We've since gone to every other pew and still six feet apart within a pew and just last weekend, they said masks were still encouraged but not required. I wore my mask anyway as did every single person I saw so I suspect for most of us, we will continue for a time wearing them to church.

I still wear my mask when I go into stores with lots of people but out of my dislike of crowds that I have always had, I try to do my shopping first thing in the morning before many people are out and about. So I have now entered a few stores without a mask on though I carry it in my pocket in case that changes. But I have noticed that in the few stores I have worn a mask, I am in a very slim minority again. I know being vaccinated my chances of Covid are slim but I really like that year I just went through with nary a cold or flu bug. I might keep on wearing my mask in crowded situations in the years to come just to prevent those ailments.

Andrew said...

"This past year has been a lesson in humanity, hasn't it?"

It certainly has. I have found a fair amount of that lesson distressing... but I suppose there have always been and will always be those negative parts to human interaction - and I just need to work at focusing on all the bright spots there were during this past year as well.

I am pretty well where you are with masks. I roll my eyes at how much people have politicized it... but at this point with my vaccine onboard, folks can do as they will. It has been wonderful to go a whole year without getting sick. Amazing what a difference people just not coughing and sneezing into the air can do.

When I was in Hong Kong two years ago, I would say that almost 1 out of every 15 or so people were wearing masks. I hope mask wearing stays in our culture a bit.