Sunday , October 25 2020
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Make masks voluntary

I do not think I have broken a single lockdown law nor piece of advice since it began in March. I am fortunate that I can work from home. I frankly prefer it. I save time, because I don’t have to take the bus into my office. I get as much work done as before and have extra time to write articles.

I am not remotely sceptical about Covid. I have been worried about it since I read the first accounts coming out of China. It is by far the most serious pandemic respiratory disease since 1918.

Catching Covid for older people is more dangerous than playing Russian Roulette. I live with such a person and therefore I must not catch Covid and above all else I must not pass it on.

I have been very careful indeed since March. I view my house as virus free and therefore it can only be brought in from outside. I therefore go out as little as possible and have as little contact as possible with other people who don’t live in my house. Whenever I come in from outside or touch a package from outside, I wash my hands.

But while I have agreed with most of the advice and laws that have been made by Government, I oppose making face masks compulsory.

I will obey the law. I have a scarf in my bag. I tie it round my face when I go into a shop. After that I put it back in my bag. I don’t wash it after each use. In fact, I don’t wash it at all. I will follow the letter of the law but do no more.

I will continue to shop at my local Tesco because I have no choice. But I will go to no other shops while I am compelled to wear a face mask. If I need something, I will buy it online.

I will not go to the cinema while I am compelled to wear a facemask, nor will I go to a pub or a restaurant. If I want to watch a film, I will buy a DVD or else use a streaming service. If I want a drink, I will buy a bottle of wine at the supermarket and have a whole bottle for the price of a glass in a pub. Instead of paying over the odds to sit uncomfortably in a restaurant I will buy the ingredients and cook the food myself. Cooking is as easy as reading instructions.

I will not take part in any leisure activity that requires me to wear a mask. I will either do it at home or not do it at all. There are millions of people like me in Britain. Some will flout the law, but most like me won’t. We will obey with reluctance and then quietly refuse to take part.

Why do I oppose the compulsory use of face masks? In part it is because I loathe wearing them. As soon as I put one on, I can’t wait to get it off. I cannot enjoy any activity while wearing one.

Covid has never been particularly bad in rural Aberdeenshire, but if I could get through March and April without wearing a mask I can certainly get through July and August when cases here have dwindled to almost zero.

While there is some science that suggests that wearing masks may be marginally useful, there is also science that points out that wearing them can be harmful.

When wearing my scarf, I constantly adjust it, because it makes my glasses steam up. The scarf slips down and I pull it up. It loosens and I have to tighten it.

I had discipled myself since March to not touch my face. But suddenly with compulsory masks that disciple was lost. Now I may touch a door handle have Covid on my hands and later adjust my scarf and catch it. I feel less safe.

I am less aware of my surroundings because I can’t see through my misted glasses. I don’t pay attention to following my own rules that have kept me and my family safe since March, because all of my attention is on the mask that I am forced to wear.

There are different attitudes to face masks. Some people support them others oppose them. Let it therefore be a matter of choice that people can freely disagree on.

We are not going to get the economy back to normal if we are all going to remain two metres away dressed up as if we are auditioning for Silence of the Lambs.

Until I can relax in a restaurant, I am not going to go at all. Until I can go on holiday without having to follow endless rules and regulations I am going to stay at home.

Far from encouraging people to go shopping and go back to pubs restaurants and cinemas, masks instead will prevent these from being places anyone wants to go.

The British public will instead have drinks with friends where there are no masks. We will go on dates with strangers we have met on the Internet and exchange saliva and other fluids with them. We will watch sports and movies in large groups on large televisions without masks. We will do all these things because Nanny Nicola and now Nanny Boris won’t be able to see us.

If Covid is going to rise again it will do so whether we wear masks or not.

Like everyone else I could find a justification for not wearing a mask. I could say I have trouble breathing when wearing a mask. I do. I could say the mask makes me anxious. It does. But I don’t want to walk round a shop waiting for the next dirty look and the next comment. So, I endure, and I do what I’m told. I obey the law, because I believe it is right to obey laws even when I disagree with them.

But I promise I will go nowhere that requires me to wear a mask unless I must. I will boycott anywhere that requires a mask except the supermarket and will do so until masks are made voluntary.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2020/07/make-masks-voluntary.html

About Effie Deans

Profile photo of Effie Deans
Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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One comment

  1. If you don’t like wearing the mask, then you’re going to hate the ventilator

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