There have been many differing opinions when it comes to how families are handling social isolation and distancing. Some families have a certain group of neighbor kids or cousins they allow their kids to play with. Some families disinfect every item from the grocery store, piece of mail and package that comes through their home. Some families couldn’t wait for the first signs of Phase 1 to bask on the patio of their favorite restaurant. Some families pretty much stay in a bubble. We’re of the latter group. My family and I have withheld hugs from grandparents, refused swim parties and aren’t comfortable sending our kids to camp. We even pulled our kids from school two days before the official shut down was announced. However, I have sincerely tried not to pass judgment on anyone else’s personal choices while we navigate this current state of limbo. We are all (mostly) doing our best.
What I am not ok with is venturing out into an enclosed, public space and seeing so many people sans face mask.
I finally went to the grocery store on my own for the first time in two months. I was prepared to take my time, be extra cautious with the basket, not touch my phone and have my credit card in my pocket so I wouldn’t have to dig through my purse. However, I wasn’t prepared for how infuriated and appalled I would feel when I saw so many people without a mask on. This gut reaction of disappointment threw me completely off guard.
I thought we were all in this together.
Isn’t that what all those sweet, sidewalk chalk messages said? Is it too much to ask that we all contribute towards protecting each other? I’ve been having anxiety as we are venturing out in public again. I was hoping it would come with the peace of mind that we were both doing our part. More than half of the patrons of this grocery store were not wearing masks and, might I add, were also scooching too close to me for comfort. (Hello?? Six feet, please!)
As I was putting my groceries away in my van, I saw a mom and toddler waiting in their car. I thought, “Good for them for not exposing the little one.” Then, the dad walked up to their car, and he didn’t have a mask on. I wanted to shake him and say, “You have a family! Don’t you want others to protect them? Why don’t you have the same courtesy??”
When I see you not wearing a mask in public, it’s as if you are saying to me, “You don’t matter.”
YOU matter to ME.
Maybe you don’t scroll through social media to catch the hundreds of opportunities there are to snatch up a face mask … for free! Maybe you don’t watch the news. In case you missed it, according to the CDC:
- New guidance states that the virus that causes COVID-19 is not primarily spread on surfaces as previously thought, but mainly airborne through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person (within about 6 feet.)
- The virus may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Yes, wearing a mask can feel uncomfortable and awkward but, it should not be viewed as a personal choice. It’s not about politics, personal freedom or demographics. You are not immune to the virus simply because you don’t live within the highly affected communities. This is a “for the good of your fellow man” public health issue.
We did not just dream that we were home-bound for eight weeks. This is not business as usual. The ENTIRE WORLD practically shut down for months at a time, and if we’re not careful, it will happen again. I want to resume our normal lives, too, but not at the risk of mine and my family’s health.
I’m doing my part … please do yours. I really miss hugs.