I’m quarantined in California right now and the mask culture here is pathetic. The other day I was at Rite Aid and a guy walked in without a mask, even though California law requires one and even though large signs outside the store say, “No mask, no service.” He walked in as if he owned the place and shouted, “Why do I need a mask!” to the sweet, soft spoken sales associate who asked him to leave if he didn’t have a mask. Outraged at his reaction, I yelled back, “Because it’s a pandemic, you jerk!” Yes, I shouldn’t have yelled or used ‘language’, but it was so puzzling to me that five months into a pandemic, you could still think so wrongly. As a former retail employee, I’ve been so thankful I’m not in that sector of fashion anymore. Unfortunately, I keep continuously reading stories or experiencing first hand, retail workers urging shoppers to wear masks.
Retail workers are placed in awkward and sometimes dangerous positions when confronting disobeying, unmasked customers. Some have been punched in the face, spit on and verbally abused while trying to enforce mask requirements. “People are so convinced it’s a political hoax. It’s like no, it could literally save lives,” a Starbucks employee told me, where she refuses unmasked service several times a week. A friend of mine who works at a restaurant was telling me how some of his take-out customers never wear masks and don’t plan to. “I’m working right now because it’s a welcomed distraction and I need to pay bills,” he said. “And now, you [unmasked civilians] are placing me in compromising situations because you don’t want to wear a mask for five minutes? Give me a break.”
Bottom line: mask wearing is about respecting others and preventing the spread of a deadly disease. And it works! New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and countless other countries have significantly lowered daily case numbers consecutively for weeks, months even. They credit a big part of their success to compliance to face coverings. So wear a damn mask. And stop jeopardizing the only companies that are open right now.
If you can’t find any to purchase, you can make your own mask at home.