The Gleaner

Masked or unmasked, we all need to move forward

With the lifting of the mandatory mask mandate across Quebec over the weekend, my two children began thinking of all the things they could do with the sizable collection of disposable and reusable masks we have accumulated over the past two years. They make for excellent parachutes and hammocks for small toys and stuffed animals, I was informed, and they can conveniently be used to launch things across a room. While I admit I am happy to be able to recognize people in public once again and I will not miss wearing a mask through sweltering heat this summer, I will be pocketing mine with a healthy dose of caution and vigilance.

Quebec was the first province to impose mask wearing, and it was the last to offer its citizens a taste of maskless freedom. The province proved responsible in its decision to postpone the lifting of its mandate into May as case counts remained relatively high and hospitalizations were not dropping as fast as experts would have liked. This delay, while perhaps irksome for a proportion of the population, likely kept the virus from invading many more homes. It is important to remember the pandemic is not over.

Masks are not about to completely disappear, and the virus will continue to circulate among us. We all have differing degrees of anxiety, acceptance, and tolerance towards masks, and many will choose to wear one, depending on their personal circumstances. Some of us will have no choice but to continue to wear masks. In all situations, the decision to wear one must be respected. It may be wise to (begrudgingly) hang on to a stash of masks, just in case – and to remember that everyone deserves the right to step into this new phase of the pandemic at their own pace.
Sarah Rennie

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