Unmasked

At first I thought I had missed the announcement. There was only one person on the bus, besides me, not wearing a face mask. Was the mask mandate back in force?

I checked my news feed. Apparently not. A day after the mask mandate for public transit was dropped, the vast majority of people were still covering their faces. And at 6;30 a.m. the bus wasn’t even crowded.

It will probably take some time for people to be comfortable showing their faces again. The mask habit has become entrenched during the past couple of years. 

In a month or so I expect masks to be worn by a small minority of bus riders, not the majority as was tewh case earlier this week. I think the idea just takes getting used to, that masks are now personal choice as opposed to government order. 

Coming back to Canada after a month in Egypt, Germany and England, I noticed a difference in mask usage. There were far fewer people wearing them than before my trip.

When the mask mandates were dropped for most public places, I still tended to wear one whenever I was in a store. Just that little extra bit of protection against Omicron. It seemed most people did the same.

On my travels I noted very few people wearing masks. It just wasn’t seen as being necessary, even for air travel. (Within Europe – flights to Canada still have mask mandates.)

Coming back to Canada I was struck by the change during the month. In most places it seems mask usage has dropped from about 50 per cent to perhaps 10 per cent in just a few weeks. I guess people are starting to feel comfortable again.

I probably won’t notice the mask use decline on public transit over the next few weeks. It will be gradual, and you don’t notice such day to day changes as easily.

Masks are probably with us to stay though. There will be some people who are concerned enough about their health to be reluctant to be unmasked in public. I understand that. 

I’m just glad to have the choice.

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