No Mask, No Problem.

Are we there yet? As COVID-19 cases decrease, we are finally starting to see some normalcy back in our society. It is very nice to see people’s smiles and read facial expressions again. I like that the mask mandate is starting to be lifted because it means we are finally turning the corner of this terrible pandemic. For two years now, people have had to go about their everyday activities carefully, wear masks and change the way they live their lives. It is definitely weird to walk into a building and not have to wear a mask, but I really like it and think it is about time. 

Gyms are one of the most important places to start when it comes to lifting COVID-19 mask mandates. When someone is exercising and their heart rate is high, they breathe heavily. Having to wear a mask makes this exertion very difficult. 

Exercise is such an important part of our lives, whether you go to a gym, walk outside or engage in another activity to get your body moving. We have to stay active or try our best to lead a healthy life, and having to wear a mask has made many people give up on a healthy lifestyle. Sweating while wearing a mask can lead to acne in the area that is covered, difficulty breathing and overheating. When the risks of a mask outweigh the benefits, there should be no requirement to wear one. 

I have seen many people overheat and sweat through masks to the point where the masks fall down and impede the wearer’s vision, which can be very dangerous when someone is lifting or running or is around others who are engaging in physical activity.

I am extremely happy to hear that Guilford County Schools is dropping the mandate for students and faculty. Elementary through high school students have very long days packed with activities. Eight hours a day is a very long time to wear a mask. In college, you generally don’t have all of your classes one after another, so things are different. In public school settings, younger kids could get annoyed and focus more on the mask than their school work, which defeats the purpose of even attending school. 

In Guilford County, some schools allowed their students to leave for lunch to ensure adequate spacing since students cannot eat with masks on. Of course, this only pertains to high school students who can drive but when these young drivers are rushed, it does not make for a good outcome. 

Mask mandates for restaurants have been very contradictory to me. When you enter the restaurant, you are required to have one on, but once you’re seated, you may take it off. When people would get up to use the restroom, they would not put their mask back on and were not told to do so. I never really saw the staff enforce mask rules once you were seated, but were very strict about masking up in order for you to get a table. I did not like this, because the person seated at the table is still the same person who walked in five minutes before and could not sit at a table unless they were wearing a mask. 

I generally have been in the middle of the road when it comes to masks and mask mandates, but I am happy to see things are starting to lighten up. With a mother who is high-risk, I have always tried to do what is best and do my part to protect myself and others. COVID and the mandates that have come along with it have been a pain for most people because it is not what we are used to. However, I think we have done a good job of adapting. 

In my opinion, people have been wearing their masks loosely in the last six to eight months, anyway. Every time I leave my house, I see people wearing them below their noses, not wearing proper masks or even not wearing them at all. At least now, we can see how things play out with not requiring masks and base our next steps on this information.