Random Musings: Mask wearing and other plague related issues

A personal post today, giving voice to thoughts on which you are free to disagree.

Mask wearing is to become mandatory in the UK when inside a shop as well as on public transport. I read this news and suffered my first panic attack of the current lockdown. As may be expected, my anxiety levels have spiked since March. Finally this floored me, perhaps because the news came just as levels of isolation were being eased. Hope was offered that soon we would be able to move around freely again, and then it was taken away.

My Twitter feed filled with pictures of healthcare workers pointing out that they wear masks for long periods during their standard working day. ‘If I can, so can you’ appeared to be the mantra. My reaction was one of admiration (for the important job they do) and despondency (at my own deficiencies). And then the thought fluttered in that if I were to die it would bring relief. Such is the way my mind works when I am struggling. I quash such thinking, aware it is a reaction to panic that will eventually ease. I’ve been here before, although not under such widely polarising circumstances.

I claim no rational reasoning in my response to mask wearing, other than the message it sends that sections of society – perhaps stoked by a relentless media – have grown fearful in a way previously unimaginable. Fear is contagious, and always we are expected to conform quietly.

This latest ruling adds a further restriction that will be punishable by the police who, since the first lockdown rules were imposed, I encounter with trepidation. How will they interpret my rights? When I dared share this particular concern with others I was met with examples of those who, perhaps by dint of their skin colour, have long struggled to trust the police. I observed my feelings being invalidated – shut down and made shameful because others have it worse.

Do not voice dissent. Do not attempt debate. Stay alert to the words and behaviours that will see you condemned.

There is talk of a need to get the economy working again, of job losses and resultant hardship. I wonder how the numbers will stack up – if more will go into shops because masks are being worn or if, like me, people will stay away until we are freed from all recent constraints. Not entering a shop remains a choice.

Fewer customers may please supporters of mask wearing but will not help the retail trade. Businesses need clients and customers if they are to survive.

There will be exceptions written into the rules on mask wearing. Those with valid reasons will be exempt. This will not stop certain people judging and shaming.

‘Just wear a mask’ many are saying. I question the wider cost.

Please try to be kind, even to those who do not sing from your song sheet. All actions have consequences. Lives will be lost due to measures taken as well as from the virus.

7 comments on “Random Musings: Mask wearing and other plague related issues

  1. Although I disagree Jackie, and have been watching the effects of face covering on Covid transmission around the world so that I have been desperate for compulsory wearing to be brought in before I’ll venture out, I absolutely agree with your point that we should be able to have debate without personal attack and vitriol. It’s why I rarely look at my Twitter feed, but stick to my notifications only!

  2. suzigun says:

    I had my lowest point since lockdown began when this announcement was made. I’ve been dreading it but it seemed inevitable since March, although I have been keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve voiced my personal worries and been shot down. The response is ‘it’s just a bit of fabric’ but for some reason it’s not just that to me and I can’t really vocalise why.
    I did lots of shopping yesterday so that I will have less to do ‘after’ and will avoid the shops as much as possible. A bit of me hopes that it won’t be as bad as I fear (although I’ve yet to do anything about getting one) and I’ll get used to it.
    What really grates with me a the moment is people talking about life ‘getting back to normal’. It’s not – we can do the functional part of normal – buy a coffee, buy a book, get our hair cut, but all of the enjoyment has been taken away and replaced by hugely stressful things that give you a sense of dread rather than pleasure.
    For some reason the altruistic side of wearing one isn’t selling it to me and the no. of cases in this part of the world is very low.
    Sorry for venting! I hope your mood lifts.

    • Jackie Law says:

      Thank you, and vent away – I get what you are saying, however hard it is to articulate 🙂 My one attempt at entering a shop since distancing was introduced was quickly aborted as I couldn’t cope with feeling so unwelcome. For me, masks will make this worse. I hope those who want them feel happier as it would be a shame if the measure put people like me off shopping for the foreseeable future yet didn’t encourage supporters to go out and about. It must be a worrying time for retailers and those they employ.

  3. nsfordwriter says:

    Agree with your points. I don’t agree with compulsory face coverings and it’s disheartening (although not surprising) that people are going to be fined for not complying. We’re becoming a police state it seems.

    • Jackie Law says:

      It all feels heavy handed – hard to see how any of the measures imposed will encourage visits to the high street. Also worrying how quickly some will turn on those who do not think or act as they wish.

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