Illustration by Mikayla Moore-Bastide

A Simple Favor, Wear Your Mask Correctly … Please

Wearing a mask correctly shouldn't be a hassle or the worst part of your day.
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Wearing a mask correctly shouldn’t be a hassle or the worst part of your day.

All I ask is, “Ma’am, can you please put your mask over your nose?” “Sir, your mask needs to be worn at all times. Thank you.” “Yes, masks are required here.”

When a mask is being worn correctly, it has to cover both the mouth and nose. Think of it this way, the mask is meant to prevent any respiratory droplets from spreading to other people and elements around you. These particles come from your mouth and nose.

These face coverings aren’t much, but they are one of the best defenses we have, alongside staying home and social distancing. Now, who would have thought that such a simple and minuscule request can cause such hostility and chaos?

I’m a retail worker in a small business. I wear a mask, over my mouth and nose, for five hours a day and expose myself to locals and tourists. Some days, I’ll be in contact with 20 people and other days, I can be in contact with close to 100 people.

I will never understand why people try so hard to fight against wearing face masks correctly.

I fear for my life and sanity every day. There are crazy stories circulating around the internet of customers harassing and assaulting workers for trying to enforce these health orders. A retail worker in Modesto was brutally attacked, a crazy lady in Trader Joes in North Hollywood making a huge scene and the worst, most extreme case I have heard so far, a security guard being shot and killed.

My co-workers and I always brace ourselves for whatever may happen for calling someone out. We have gotten glares, we’ve been ignored, ridiculed and even belittled just for asking someone to wear a mask or wear it correctly. We have had out-of-state tourists obnoxiously defy the rules we have set for our store, for them to then leave our store and express how much they hate California’s rules.

C’est la vie de 2020.

I will never understand why people try so hard to fight against wearing face masks correctly.

There have been customers that have come in and complained of not being able to breathe with the mask on. My solution is to stay at home. If you cannot breathe with a mask on, you’re already vulnerable and should not be outside. If you’re bothered at the thought of wearing a face covering for 10 minutes in a small gift shop, maybe you shouldn’t be out and shopping for home decor.

In order for many of these small businesses to be open, they needed to be approved by the state. My boss had to fill out a very lengthy form to re-open her business. She had to describe every action we, as employees, would do to ensure we are all safely navigating this pandemic.

If you see any shop with state/county paperwork taped in their front window, they had to apply to re-open as well. If a customer or employee ends up testing positive, the entire shop has to be shut down.

These face coverings are for the safety of yourself and those around you. This isn’t a time to be individualistic, this is a time where you need to put your ego aside and realize that your selfish actions can potentially harm a business, a person next to you or the family they go home to.

Wearing your mask correctly to cover both your nose and mouth won’t kill you, but refusing to do it at all can.

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