To Mask Or Not To Mask – That is the Question

Please take a moment to consider this article and my personal thoughts fully before responding, as I certainly acknowledge what a tough topic a mask can be. I realize that this topic is sensitive for so many reasons, but it has weighed heavy on my heart and mind of late. With the COVID-19 case count numbers getting worse each day, we are all facing a pandemic that doesn’t appear to be stopping.

On March 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed via press conference the first two novel coronavirus cases in Manatee and Hillsborough counties here in Florida, and a state of emergency was declared. Since then, various shutdowns, social distancing measures, and other precautions have been enacted with limited success against the world’s biggest adversary at the moment, cutting across all nationalities, countries, and people. Florida has now crossed 884,000 recorded cases according to the Department of Health’s latest report from November 16 and deaths, topping 17,000 to date.

I have three close friends here on the Florida Suncoast that very recently have been diagnosed positive for Covid-19.  As someone that loves my live music scene, friends, and family dearly, I could not imagine being quarantined from seeing them. As many of you know, I traveled to see my family this year along with friends out of state while wearing a mask, adhering to social distance protocols, carrying hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, and trying to go about my business as normal as possible.  We do “Zoom” meetings whenever possible for our website business.  

We all want to support small businesses struggling to survive this unprecedented time, hear our musicians doing what they do best, and have fun with friends. Where there is a dance floor – go cut a rug, with a mask on. If you need to get in that holiday shopping, find some deals while wearing your mask. To all of my musician friends, it’s great that you are performing, but to be safe, wear your mask in between sets and social distance from your fans!  When you’re at a restaurant, please abide by the mask protocols that they have in place.

This mask habit may not be acceptable for various political, personal, and other reasons. Most of us aren’t qualified to help with a vaccine and don’t want others to decide how we can freely move about. If a mask can stop one child from getting sick, one elderly parent from being put at risk, and one more quarantine from being enforced on us, does putting on a mask matter in the long run? Yes, it is the simplest, most effective way to not spread through coughing, sneezing, and other means, not just COVID-19 but also other diseases. It may be the thing standing between you and a good time dancing, shopping, watching sports, outdoor events, and socializing with those you care about.

Suppose we limit your group sizes but throw those parties with socially accepted distancing and numbers arriving in masks or decide to have lunch out with the girls, with pretty bedazzled masks to match that ensemble that you have been dying to show off. Maybe, you take your children to a museum for the day, all with their matching bright colored masks. It’s one tiny thing that, if we all do it, might lead to bigger precautions like our favorite bars, restaurants, theatres, and the like being closed to us once again. So, when you decide to run to the grocery store tomorrow and see that slip of fabric laying there – put it on. We all can do this one thing and maybe help prevent the spread of this monster bearing down on us all.

When you go to the hospital or doctor’s office, nurses, doctors, and staff always have their masks on. Your favorite liquor store clerk wears a mask when they check out. Pharmacists, vets, beauticians, fast food cashiers, and the list goes on and on. Respect those working on the front lines trying to keep our lives moving normally and wear a mask.

Wear a mask now so you can hug your loved ones later.

Photo from Sande Caplin & Associates

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covid-19, Infection, Masks, pandemic

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