Masks

Are you still wearing a mask in shops?

Poll ended at Mon 18 Oct, 2021 17.13

Yes
17
63%
No
10
37%
 
Total votes: 27
Philip
Posts: 1057
Joined: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 21.23
Location: Merseyside
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It seems like more people than not are now not wearing masks in shops, public places etc. I'm still masking up, particularly as we get closer to winter. Are you?
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DavidWhitfield
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue 17 Nov, 2020 14.15

Depends on the context for me.

If I'm in a small local shop and there's only a handful of people inside, I don't feel compelled to wear a mask. If I nip into a cafe or restaurant, then I won't bother either because nobody wears a mask at their table to eat and drink and therefore, I perceive no discernible benefit to putting a mask on simply to walk in and out.

However, if I were to visit, say, a doctors surgery or chemist, places where I perceive there are more people who are at 'high risk' or those who work in the medical sector, I do still wear a mask out of courtesy. My workplace advises the wearing of masks in communal areas, so when I pick up the post from the main reception every morning, I do still wear a mask to do so, as per their wishes. Similarly, if I were to enter someone's home, I feel it is incumbent on me to respect the homeowner's stance. Some people have scoffed at the idea of masks and distancing from the outset and some people are still incredibly diligent to this day. Were I to enter the home of someone in this latter group, then I would act accordingly, even though I personally am much less concerned about mask wearing.

Ultimately, I follow the guidance that's been given, so, by and large, I'm enjoying life as close to normal as possible again. I feel after a year and a half, and a better-than-ever-projected 80% rate of the UK population being 'double-vaccinated', we really ought to try to. I am happily meeting friends in a pub, sitting together (indoors), and neglecting to wear a mask where I deem it appropriate, though, I understand that others are more hesitant about reverting back to true normality and continue to take precautions where I deem it necessary and appropriate.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 1186
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

I still wear a mask on public transport, shops and in medical places, but I do take it off for obvious reasons in a cafe.
TVF's London Lite.
cwathen
Posts: 1211
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

No, nor will I unless it is mandated by law again, and I strongly disagree with that happening, nor any Covid restrictions ever being reimposed. 18 months has gone by since we locked down for 3 weeks and still we aren't back to normal. Covid isn't going anywhere, we can't 'learn to live with it' if we keep refusing to do that.

I will say one thing though, tougher restrictions do at least help prevent the spread of Covid (so long as we don't care what damage they cause). But the obsession with masks I do not get. They demonstrably don't work. There's more than enough observed results to draw that conclusion now. All the evidence saying they do is merely evidence that the masks have a utility and stop the level of cough particles they're rated to stop. That is not in dispute, protective face masks were a thing that existed before.

But, the 'evidence' that they significantly cut the transmission of Covid seems to be nothing more than drawing a line between face masks having a utility in stopping cough particles from spreading and therefore assuming that this will be of huge benefit in preventing the spread of Covid. I agree that's not an unreasonble conclusion to draw, but on the ground it's just not working out that way is it? Yes of course the odd bit of transmission might be stopped but the idea being peddled that mass wearing of disposable surgical masks or fabric masks made to no known technical standards represents this huge shield to prevent Covid transmission is demonstrably bobbins.

There is no peer-reviewed study I'm aware of which specifically demonstrates that Covid transmission is being significantly cut through mask wearing and there has been no modelling as to how much worse it would be without them. I asked if there was in another thread and was provided with no less than 8 links, none of them were that. However several did identify that full face visors which we treat as an alternative to masks do pretty much nothing to stop cough particles from spreading (only 2% of cough particles stopped by them IIRC), so why do we bother with those?

Some of the mandated mask-wearing scenarios we had in England were insane - I can at least see the argument as to why it might help to wear one on a train for 3 hours but when you had to put a mask on to walk through a pub door which you could then take off 10 seconds later as soon as you'd sat down exactly what was this mask supposed to be doing in that brief period of time?

Masks were originally supposed to stop a small uptick in cases in Summer 2020. They didn't stop it, We've gone through two further waves and recorded our highest ever daily number of cases with mask rules in place.

Scotland and Wales have retained some mandatory mask wearing yet have a higher R rate than England which has none. More than enough time has gone by to see a surge in cases caused by the dropping of mask rules in England and it hasn't happened. It's not down to people in England voluntarily wearing masks either, mask wearing is nowhere near at the level it was when it was mandated and is falling all the time.

If mask mandates are reintroduced in the winter and cases surge, which they will, because masks won't stop it, because they haven't before, the Covid obsessed will want more measures until cases come down (which they will absolutely need to do to achieve that, because masks don't work). Rather than reintroducing mandatory masks preventing another lockdown, I feel they will cause it because if any restrictions are reintroduced they can all be reintroduced. The only way forward is to have none at all.
james2001
Posts: 622
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

One thing that gets me is the absolute aggressiveness and abusiveness from many people over not wearing masks. Less so when the mandates were in force- but even then I saw people with genuine exemptions getting bile thrown at then, but since the mandates were dropped many mask advocates are still being angry and abusive at people not wearing them even though they're not doing anything wrong- I've been sworn at myself and told I'm killing people, and had terms like "rat licker" (a term the more militant mask wearers seem to have come up with for non-wearers). Mask wearing seems to have almost become a religion for some people.

I can understand people still being worried about things, but being aggressive and hurling abuse at people who aren't actually breaking any rules or doing anything wrong isn't helping anyone. It's certainly not going to convince people who stopped wearing them to start again.

I hate the term "virtue signalling", but I struggle to think of a better one to describe many of the attitudes I've seen towards masking since the mandates were dropped, I don't even think it's about public health for many, just a way to show people they're "better" than people who aren't wearing them. Even with MPs it seems both sides are basing their decisions to either wear them or not to be contrary to their opponents rather than because it's the right thing to do- the decision to keep mask mandates in Scotland, Wales, NI and on public transport in London and Manchester feels like much of the same.

I don't have a problem with people who choose to keep wearing masks, it's those who are aggressive and militant about it and are basically harassing and bullying others to comply. In my opinion these attitudes are just as bad and extreme as the anti-maskers who refused to wear them when they had to.

Almost every day I hear people shouting that mask mandates need to come back (even at points where cases have been falling), even though the situation now clearly isn't escalating to the point we need them, I think people need to accept now that they're unlikely too unless things get really bad (which gets less likely every day).
Dr Lobster*
Posts: 2057
Joined: Sat 30 Aug, 2003 20.14

I’m not wearing my mask any more. If I was in a crowded place with lots of people coughing and spluttering, I probably would. So far, since they have been no longer mandatory, I haven’t felt the need to wear one yet.
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cdd
Posts: 2569
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 14.05
Location: de Voitures

I’m not only bored of masks, I’m bored of discussing masks. Though I’m happy to wear one if asked nicely, or if I sense that not doing so would make someone uncomfortable.

I’d much rather the time and effort went into vaccination.
james2001
Posts: 622
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

Another slightly related thing, I keep hearing people saying we should bring back lockdown, masks, social distancing and other things over the winter due to the strong chance there'll be a surge in other respitory viruses, but all I can say to that is, how will it help? It's been made pretty clear the reason there's likely to be a surge in such things is because all the restrictions over the last 18 months or so has severely limited people's exposure and created an "immunity debt", so surely bringing back restrictions over the winter is just doing more of the same and will at best just kick the can down the road and push it to a later date, but even more likely create an even worse problem building up more and more the longer you kick the can down the road as people's immunity wanes even further. You might prevent a bad situation this winter, but likely will end up creating an even worse situation next winter due to adding yet another year of non-exposure and waning immunity... or even have hospitals full of flu patients during next summer when we wouldn't normally see it, as we've seen this year with RSV.

I think people are going to have to accept now that we're in a situation where a bad winter for cold, flu and the likes is likely inevitable as a result of people's lack of exposure over the last 18 months or so, and constantly bringing back restrictions just isn't the answer, the only way we're going to get past it is by letting it work its course however bad it might be (the same's also true for covid now pretty much everyone who wants to be vaccinated has been). The fact we've had bad RSV outbreaks over the summer with children when it would normally be nearly invisible over the summer just shows what happens when you try and suppress exposure to viruses, in the end you just can't beat nature.

Trying to limit people's exposure to covid while a vaccine was developed and given to people made sense, to limit the severity of the outbreak, but once you've vaccinated everyone who wants it there's not much more you can do, while vaccines will slow the spread and make people less ill if they do catch it, they're clearly not going to be able to stop it entirely. The simple fact is you can't just keep locking down forever.
cwathen
Posts: 1211
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

james2001 wrote:One thing that gets me is the absolute aggressiveness and abusiveness from many people over not wearing masks.
To balance this out, there are some pretty vile individuals on the anti-mask side doing the same thing the other way around. There seems to have been a total failure by both pro mask and anti mask extremists to accept that 'personal choice' means just that. I may well have written several hundred words justifying my position (well I would wouldn't I) but the bottom line is I don't wear a mask because it has been enshrined in law as a personal choice and I have chosen not to. Others have chosen to wear one which is their personal choice too. Shaming in either direction is inappropriate. End of.

It doesn't help though for the government to get rid of mask mandates but then immediately describe it as the 'right thing' for people to carry on wearing them, nor for various local governments and individual businesses immediately implementing their own local mask mandates as soon as the blanket one was removed.
james2001 wrote:Another slightly related thing, I keep hearing people saying we should bring back lockdown, masks, social distancing and other things over the winter due to the strong chance there'll be a surge in other respitory viruses, but all I can say to that is, how will it help?
One of the more dangerous things we have done in taking such extreme action over Covid is we have now changed the western world and made curtailment of civil liberty and closing the economy down a viable thing that can be done in a public health emergency in a way that it wasn't before. That can never be undone now.
james2001 wrote:but the simple fact is you can't just keep locking down forever.
I agree, and I've been arguing that for over a year now. But in the minds of the Covid obsessed, you absolutely can. They will talk of 'not wanting' a lockdown, of 'believing we won't need' a lockdown, but ultimately if Covid keeps putting the NHS at risk and other measures aren't working they will keep supporting lockdowns to control it and they will keep on doing that indefinitely. That's why the only way out of this is to draw a line, and why even a mask mandate for the winter represents the start of a very slippery slope.
james2001
Posts: 622
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

It's not even just covid any more, we have some people taking as if even covid's no longer a problem but we have a bad winter of flu will mean we have to shut the country down... even though we've had countless bad flu winters in the past and never had to shut the country down. But you are right now that many people think we can just shut the country down at the drop of a hat from now on because of things we've always been able to keep society open through before. It does feel as though we've opened a pandora's box we're going to struggle to close.

And in reference to your other comment- I did say in my first post I consider the rabid anti-maskers to be as bad as the bullying pro-maskers, they're two extremes and two sides of the same coin. I guess it's just in my experience I come across the pro-mask side significantly more often than the other. Sadly "encouraging" people to still wear masks very quickly turned into bullying and harrassment.

The whole "you're free to choose whether to wear a mask or not, but we're going to harrass you until you wear one anyway" thing feels like that episode of The Simpsons with the movementarians- when anyone tries to leave the propaganda film they have a spotlight on them and a booming voice tells them they're free to leave but have to say why, which leaves everyone too ashamed to actually leave, and then later when Marge tries to leave the compound and is told she's "free to leave", but has to go through a no man's land full of booby traps to do so.

The worst thing has been the completely misleading scaremongering hysteria that "you can still catch and spread it even when vaccinated". It's one of the rare things that has enthused both extremes- the anti side telling us not to get vaccinated or take any precautions because you're going to catch it anyway, and the pro side insisting it means we're going to have to keep masks and other restrictions forever. When the reality is, while you can still catch and spread it, the risks of both are hugely reduced and you'll almost certainly get less ill if you do catch it- so get vaccinated, but we don't need to keep ongoing restrictions.

Sadly I think far too many people have been worked up so much by the media hysteria and the likes that they're never going to be able to feel they can return to normal, even when the pandemic's officially over.
bilky asko
Posts: 1260
Joined: Sat 08 Nov, 2008 19.48

Have I just been incredibly lucky that I've not had one single comment about my mask-wearing whilst in public?
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