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As cases in Hong Kong rose, but working from home was not yet an option, we often felt uneasy when a colleague seated near us would show symptoms of a cold but move through the workday barefaced. We found it difficult to bring up the topic of wearing a mask to our peers, not to mention our superiors, without coming across as rude, imposing or even paranoid. I even wrote a piece, that I never published, on how to ask my colleague to wear a mask because his loud sneezes and nose blowing were becoming alarming.
A few months later, when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and guidelines on prevention were plastered all over news outlets and social media, things changed.
These discussions make clear that culture and familiarity with the face mask have as much, if not more, to do with why people either embrace or reject the practice as does science.
When there is no mandate in place, wearing a mask is a personal choice that one makes about one’s health, comfort or appearance. As such, insisting someone remove their mask because it makes you uncomfortable is as odd and offensive as asking a stranger to remove their hat, sunglasses or scarf. All of these items may conceal a large portion of someone’s face, yet people have not raised concerns about how they may interfere with fostering human contact.
I, too, understand the burden of trying to have a conversation with a face mask on or even hiking while masked. However, beyond the pandemic, it is the prerogative of mask-averse people to opt not to wear them if they can do so safely just like it is my prerogative, and that of my like-minded peers, to use a mask in everyday life when we see fit.
#stop #hateful #rhetoric #wearing #masks #Opinion