Don’t @ me: I’ll still be wearing my mask after the mask mandate is lifted

And so should you

Here’s why I’ll keep wearing my mask after the restrictions are lifted. Graphic Joey Bruce

As the government doubles down on their plan to remove the mask mandate by mid-April, I’m doubling down on my claim that I will continue wearing my mask until further notice.

COVID-19 isn’t close to being over. Every week, I’m informed that someone I know contracted the virus despite being triple vaxxed. Within the past 24 hours, Quebec has reported over 2,000 new cases—and those are just the reported cases. With most people using rapid tests at home, who knows how many positive cases go unreported. 

In the early days of the pandemic, people were worried about 500 daily cases and the entire city went into lockdown. With nearly half the daily number of cases we are seeing today, schools were shut down, non-essential workers were laid off, and many stores and businesses closed temporarily. Now, we have gotten so accustomed to the pandemic that we think having 900 to 2,000 daily cases isn’t that bad because we’ve seen worse—think back to how Quebec surpassed 17,000 new cases on Jan. 1 2022.

I understand that people are sick of being in a pandemic after two years of restrictions, but masks actually have a lot of benefits to them besides protecting others from our spit. They hide our acne, chapped lips, and rude grins.

And before people start claiming that masks don’t work because cases continue to rise despite the mask mandate, masks aren’t a guarantee that the virus won’t be transmitted, but they greatly lower the risk that it will. Of course, this is assuming people are wearing their mask properly—that is, above the nose—and that they do not take off or adjust their mask too often. 

Anyway, if we’re tired of the pandemic, why aren’t we doing everything we can to end it? By lifting the mask mandate, the government is simply caving into the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers who are more worried about their supposed personal freedoms than about the safety of their neighbours. Even when the government will cease requiring the mandatory use of masks in public places, it doesn’t mean we are under any obligation to throw away all our masks.

Furthermore, loosening restrictions just because we are tired of them is backward thinking. We all remember what happened every time we loosened restrictions: A new wave of COVID-19, followed by a sharp increase of restrictions. However, the mask mandate wasn’t lifted during the months of summer 2021 when the number of new daily cases was below or just above 100. This is because the mask mandate works and the second we abolish them, it’s over for us. 

So, I will continue wearing my mask every time I leave my house even if it means I’m the only one on the streets with it. And to be quite honest, I actually like having half of my face hidden.