Editorial: Your mask, your choice
The removal of mask mandates does not mean that you should feel forced to take them off.
With the recent announcement that Ontario will be relaxing the majority of its Covid-19 constraints as of March 21, many Ontarians are excited to finally stop worrying about where their vaccine passports are, or whether they still have a mask ready for them in the back of the car.
However, for some of us, the sweeping removal of most Covid-19 protocols evokes anxiety and hesitation.
According to a 2020 report from Statistics Canada, “one in four Canadians has an underlying health condition that increases their risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19.” Over the past two years, many of these individuals have relied on the province’s Covid-19 restrictions to keep them safe.
Now, our province is doing the equivalent of ‘ripping the band-aid off’, removing the restrictions that we’ve been told will protect us in favour of “learning to live with” a virus that is quickly becoming a normal part of our society.
While many agree that it’s time to start moving into a post-Covid-19 society, some are worried about how these rapid changes will affect them. Some of us live or interact with high-risk parents or relatives who still actively worry about what would happen if they caught Covid-19, even after being vaccinated. Others have not been able to vaccinate themselves against Covid-19 because of underlying health conditions. And for some, going without a mask after two years will just feel like being exposed or naked.
As we approach our province’s attempt at shifting back to an optimistically ‘normal’ world, move at your own pace. While everyone around you might be happy to take off their masks, you may still have concerns, and that’s completely okay. No one is telling you that you have to take your mask off—they’re only saying that you don’t have to keep wearing one. Choose whether you continue to wear a mask or not according to your own comfort level, not based upon how you feel other people will respond to your decision.