Saturday, May 15, 2021

COVIDiary: To (Continue) Mask, or Not To (Continue) Mask

A couple of days ago, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) here in Atlanta lifted the COVID-19 mask requirements for folks who've been vaccinated. 

It was sort of a good news/bad news situation. 

Good news: I've been fully vaccinated since mid-February. Summer's coming and while I loved wearing my mask in the cold weather, mask-wearing in Atlanta's heat is brutal. And at some point we do have to get beyond this thing. 

Bad news: How can I (or stores or museums or churches or restaurants, etc.) tell who has been fully vaccinated and who hasn't? We didn't get tattoos on our foreheads when we got our shots. Yes, we were given a card with the vax info on it (which I keep with me all the time), but news of fake vax cards are everywhere. And if I've learned anything during this pandemic (shoot, let's be serious, since the 2016 election), many of my fellow country-citizens are selfish and stupid, so I've lost all trust in Americans to do the honest and moral thing. 

My workplace, the Atlanta History Center, is following the CDC guidelines and dropping mask requirements for staff and guests. Fortunately, we staff members have been told that we will not be responsible for asking for proof of vaccination, as it might provoke unwanted confrontations and compromise our safety. 

Well, OK. I'm vaccinated. While working inside, I'm behind plexiglass in a huge atrium with proper ventilation. My other assignments are outdoors. I welcome never having to remind people to keep mask over mouth AND nose. 

Yesterday, I went shopping at real stores for the first time in a year, and mask requirements were still in place. I was surprised that everyone was abiding by mask rules, staff and shoppers. It was good to know that people are still being cautious.

I'll miss you, mask collection. I'll miss having my smirks covers. I'll miss not having to wear make-up and lipstick. I'll miss having something that hides sleep-face creases. On the up-side, it'll be good to let my face hang out again, I reckon. 

I suspect masks will be around beyond this point, especially during cold and flu season. And I have so many cute ones, I'm prepared for whatever viruses hit us in the future. 

Or maybe I'll just frame the whole mask collection as a reminder of this weird, historic year.