September 15, 2020
I’m sure you’re well aware COVID-19 is still a major threat, especially in America. It seems that despite the general public being well informed of just how serious the virus is and how much harm it does, people still feel like wearing a mask should be optional. As a food service worker the majority of my day is spent reminding people of how to properly wear their masks. So if you’ve made it this far into the pandemic and still need some tips on how to stay safe and keep those around you out of harm’s way, here they are.
Remember to wear your mask if you are anywhere that isn’t your home. Every time I drive down the road I see people just walking around without a mask on, or wearing their mask improperly. Even though there is a mask order in East Lansing, people are still walking around as though the world hasn’t been turned upside down. Life is chaotic and even if you’re walking down a street that isn’t usually crowded, you could still accidentally bump into someone or end up in a situation where you can’t easily be six feet apart. It doesn’t matter how empty the grocery store is or if you don’t think you’ll see anyone else. If there is even the slightest possibility that you might run into someone, you should have a mask on.
Also, always remember to have a mask on you. The number of people I have seen walk into my place of work, only to have to turn around because we require masks is astronomical. Why are people running around without one single mask on them? If you aren’t going to wear your mask walking down the street then you should at least have one on you if you decide to enter an establishment. Keep a spare one in your bag, backpack or car. It’s required in almost all establishments anyway, and if they’re willing to provide you one, it’s a kindness they don’t have to do.
Make sure you have an appropriate mask. Taking your t-shirt off and tying it around your face before you walk into an establishment isn’t going to cut it. The number of times I’ve seen this being done is far too many considering I’m next to a college full of well educated humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask with two or more layers. Pulling your shirt over your nose, a bandana or using a multiclava as a face covering isn’t suggested or as effective as a proper mask.
You’re not exempt from the rules. According to the CDC the only people who should not be wearing a mask are “children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.” So, unless you have managed to find yourself unconscious in the middle of a restaurant, you should be wearing your mask. I promise you, if you just speak up, people will be able to hear you when you try to talk to them. Raising the volume of your voice is a small price to pay to keep people from getting sick. Even if you do have trouble breathing, most restaurants or other establishments have ways that you can receive their services without actually having to come into contact with anyone. Most food service places and grocery stores have pick up and delivery options and stores are more willing than ever to work with you online to get what you need.
Pull your mask up over your nose! The number of people I see wearing their masks just under their nose, or worse, just under their chin, is insane. Wearing your mask improperly defeats the purpose of wearing the mask at all. You still breathe out all of your germs through your nose just as much as your mouth. You have to keep everything covered. If you find your mask is slipping off of your nose then it’s either too small and is being pulled down while you speak, or it’s too large and isn’t properly secured to your face. An adjustable mask may be helpful if you can’t seem to find one that fits just right.
The world can be a really scary place right now, and it’s our job to try and keep as many people healthy as we possibly can. Remember these tips as you go out. Missing the way the world was before the pandemic doesn’t mean you can start slipping on the rules. Keep yourself and those around you safe.
Joey Warren is a writer with a BA in professional and public writing from Michigan State University. When not working you can find her watching Netflix in her pajamas, advocating for women and LGBTQ youth or taking pictures of ducks. You can follow her on Instagram @jortay_ole.