Masks, Revisited

As of last Saturday, 10 April, the state of Utah ended its total mask mandate. They’re still required in state-run buildings and schools, until the end of this school year; in the fall they won’t be required anymore. In places with 50 or more people, or where distancing is difficult, people must still use them. It’s now up to individual businesses whether they want to require a mask or not.

The Walmart stores locally have removed their signage stating masks are required. I walked into one today without a mask, and was not confronted or even questioned. Other places were still emblazoned with the “mask required” signs. Yesterday (Thursday), as I was picking my son up from school, there were a couple dozen people standing on the corner and sidewalks in a mask protest. These anti-mask people held signs saying things to the effect of “kids need oxygen to learn” or “see my smile” and other assorted messages. Though I despise wearing a mask, especially at work, I still use them where necessary. I would never join an anti-mask demonstration, since I have better things to do with my life. I did, however, as I was turning the corner to return home, put on my mask in the car, just to spite these doofuses. I looked directly at some of them and smiled and waved as I went by. A couple of them lowered their heads, as if they were ashamed or signaling a gesture of “whatever, dude”.

I guess the whole thing is whatever. People are divided into three categories: the ones who absolutely think masks should be required in perpetuity; the ones who absolutely refuse and think masks are ridiculous, unnecessary, and a violation of their rights; and then there’s the group I fit into: the ones who really don’t care one way or the other. If I’m required, I’ll wear one. I usually carry one in my car or pocket, just in case. It’s really not that hard to put the damn thing on. While casually walking or doing nothing strenuous, it doesn’t bother me at all—that is, until it slips off my nose, then my glasses get smudged trying to reposition the mask over my nose. If I carry something heavy, like occasionally at work, I’ll lower my mask for a minute to catch my breath.

Some places here, that are considered “low transmission counties”, can open to full capacity without distance between tables or gym equipment, though people waiting in line should still keep space. The grocery store about two blocks away from the house has brought back their tables and chairs, so people can sit and eat, and their donut case resumed self-service about a month ago. I’m just anxious to be able to not have to wear a mask anywhere again.

Next week, I’ll be receiving my second vaccine dose. I’ve heard that the second tends to cause more side effects than the first. With the first one, my arm was sore for a couple of days. I can deal with the arm pain (I have pain in my other arm 24/7), but I hope not to get anything more than that. I really don’t need to miss work that night because of some vaccine side effects.

I must now leave this quote:

“Some say that wearing a mask during the Covid pandemic will not prevent you from getting the virus nor giving it to someone else. If this is true, then why are doctors and nurses required to wear masks during surgical procedures?”

James Thomas Kesterson, Jr.

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