Focus on how far 6 feet is, not buying face masks
Give people two Labs’ worth of personal space while shopping
Update on April 3, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the terminology on their prevention page to include, “cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.” The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. However, the site still confirms we all should “continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.”
There is an ongoing debate regarding whether to wear face masks or not, but not enough is being said about giving people room to breathe.
By now, we’ve all encountered that one customer in a retail store who bumps our ankles with her cart, leans over us to put her items on the conveyor belt as though waiting would be just too much or someone who stands so close behind you that if you bend over, you’re involuntarily twerking on her. This is the person who needs to be our target right now — the one who simply does not understand that she should be standing two Labrador Retrievers behind you. Even before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak started, this customer was standing too close to you.
Recommended Listen: “Mask Confusion” with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Less than a week ago, I had to buy paper rolls to count quarters in our laundry room (an interesting task to complete as the new condo president). I ran into more customers and employees with face masks on who did the following: tried to squeeze their way around me to buy something on an adjacent checkout row, wiggled by me instead of going around to six empty lanes to buy balloons from the front of the store, cashiers sliding by to get to their checkout space (instead of waiting the five seconds it would take for me to grab a bag) and one cashier drilled me with questions about why I needed roller paper at all instead of just going to a bank to count $600 worth of quarters. What did all of these people have in common? They all kept going out of their way to be less than two feet away from me.
I cannot knock people for wearing face masks because I’m taking full advantage of my stock of perm gloves — although four have already ripped when I put them on in all their dollar store glory. But with those gloves, I’m also cognizant of not touching other people and still maintaining a six-foot distance. Entirely too many people have put on this face mask — incorrectly and don’t seem to understand that taking it off and on automatically rules that mask out — and decided they are immune from COVID-19.
Stop listening to the guy who thinks health care professionals are hoarding ventilators — as if the 163,539 people in the United States and 783,360 worldwide who have been infected with COVID-19 are a figment of our imagination. He’d rather tell you about his Facebook following or Mexico’s borders. He does not give a damn about you — including the white people who voted for him.
As of now, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention state, “You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a face mask). Face masks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.”
In a crisis that has lead to 30 health care professionals from Atlanta flying over to help New York hospitals and 52,000 health care professionals coming out of retirement to help out, I want them to have access to all the supplies they need. I tried wearing a face mask one time. I ended up fogging up my glasses (since contact lenses are frowned upon these days for people like me who have a habit of messing with them) and spent more time fidgeting with it than I did protecting myself. You know what doesn’t make me fidget with my face? Imagining you are one door’s length away from me when I’m standing in a grocery store — even if it’s with a cashier who cares way too much about my laundry room.
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