Mask Etiquette 101

Yesterday, I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up two hampers for my kids’ bedrooms. They have been using my laundry baskets as an unacceptable substitute, and I needed to do something about it. As I walked toward the cash register, I passed by a young woman and was taken aback. There wasn’t a hint of a mask hanging off her ear or around her neck. Her entire face was uncovered. She confidently walked past me with a look as if she was daring me to call her out on it.

It was such an odd moment. For 49 years, I’ve seen people sans mask in front of me without experiencing a sense of panic. Now, four months into this pandemic, I expect everyone to wear one in a public place.

Is that too much to ask?

And then, I wondered why no one else asked her to put a mask on. We were at the back of the store which means she must have strolled by a few employees before she reached me. Why didn’t anyone say anything? Where is the “mask” police when you need them?

Five minutes later, I remembered I was out of deodorant and made a pit stop 😉 at the beauty aisle. It was there that I saw an older woman bent over the personal fan kiosk talking on her cell phone. Her blue disposable mask served as a chin rest leaving her nose and mouth in plain sight. I wanted to tell her that people can still hear her when she talks through her mask.

But again, I said nothing. I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to get into an argument with these people. I certainly don’t want them yelling in my face spreading their droplets everywhere while pointing out that our president doesn’t wear one so why should they. I just want to politely ask them to respect others around them, not to mention abide by the signs posted everywhere on covering your face.

In these difficult times, it might be helpful to have a manual for wearing face masks and talking to the people who refuse to put them on in your presence. Here are a few do’s and don’ts, I’ve come up with.

Do wear a face mask in public places.

Don’t wear a face mask only on your nose or just your mouth. It has to cover both areas. And FYI, covering your chin doesn’t stop the spread.

Do ask your friends and family if they would prefer you to wear a mask when you come to visit. Don’t assume that they are okay with you not wearing one.

Do stay home if you aren’t feeling well.

Don’t go to Urgent Care without a mask, open the door and yell out to the receptionist – “Do you do COVID testing here?!” (This actually happened to me).

And finally, don’t wear your mask like this – as my son expertly demonstrated to me over the weekend.

6 comments on Mask Etiquette 101

  1. Martha
    July 17, 2020 at 12:27 am (11 months ago)

    Great does and don’t list. I wrote about masks today also!

  2. Lily Leung
    July 16, 2020 at 1:01 am (11 months ago)

    Wearing masks is not mandatory here. We are not densely populated. But I always wear one when I’m go out shopping. Better safe than sorry.

  3. Jeanine Byers
    July 14, 2020 at 11:48 pm (11 months ago)

    I thought wearing masks in public was mandatory now. It is where I am. And I am taken aback, too – especially now – when I see people at a store without a mask.

  4. Julie JordanScott
    July 14, 2020 at 10:50 pm (11 months ago)

    I’ve been known to complain about non-mask wearing, especially employees. I calmly say I won’t be shopping there – and I’ll warn other people who are at risk to not shop there.

  5. Virginia Allain
    July 14, 2020 at 10:30 pm (11 months ago)

    I’m in Central Florida and it seems people are informed enough that at the stores I’m seeing 99% mask wearing even though our governor is being ignorant about the whole thing. It worries me though that the anti-maskers have made themselves so unpleasant that anyone fears to enforce the guidelines. Sad, when our lives are depending on it.

  6. Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA
    July 14, 2020 at 8:37 pm (11 months ago)

    I am less reticent. Given that wearing a mask is mandatory around here (inside of buildings), I just take a picture and let them know I will be turning them in to the police if 5 seconds if the mask isn’t where it belongs. (And, since they aren’t wearing a mask, identification is a breeze.)


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