Since the beginning of the pandemic, masks were required to be put on during indoor activities such as church gatherings, restaurants and grocery stores. At first, it was something that was not easily welcomed by the public, but now it’s something that has become a part of our lives.
A statewide poll in the summer of 2021 with more than 1,000 voters showed that 49% of Californians agreed with the mask mandate while 39% were opposed to it. While a year has passed and the mask was gradually accepted, the idea came with great opposition.
But as of Feb. 15, California counties of San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino will be lifting the mask mandate while Los Angeles County will continue to keep it in effect. Be mindful that this only refers to closed space and indoor activities where high volume people tend to gather.
As one who has adapted the mask mandate to my life and received the full vaccination, I believe that even if these mask mandates are lifted, it is at the vaccinated person’s discretion to remove their mask in public places.
The mask is meant to protect the individual from catching the virus. A study from the CDC Guideline shows that with a surgical mask the likelihood of someone catching the virus drops by 66%. That being said, those who have received the vaccine should be given the free will to put on or keep off the mask.
Though the mask mandate can seem like our choice is being taken away, there is always a reason why a county would issue such a mandate. It is logical for Los Angeles to keep the mandates in effect due to its higher population. A greater concentration of people in a city is likely to spread the virus and to have that many people staying at home is highly unlikely to control.
As far as seeing this as a safe decision, the answer to that depends on the people regarding their vaccination.
According to the State Vaccination Tracker, 70% of California’s population are considered fully vaccinated. Though proof of vaccination should be in place, these are the people who should be given the choice whether or not they want to still use the mask indoors.
Kelly Nguyen, a senior business administration major at Long Beach State also gave her thoughts on the matter about how she feels about counties outside of Los Angeles lifting their respective mask mandates.
“It’s good to hear that they’re lifting the mask mandate because people are starting to get vaccinated,” Nguyen said. “So it’s nice to slowly start feeling normal again.”
For the past year and a half, our society has experience great turmoil because of the coronavirus. The world that was before the pandemic is what we must strive to get back. It will take baby steps, but we are going in the right direction.
The decision that Los Angeles County made was not a walk in the park and there are others who opposed the idea of keeping the mask on. But for the safety of the general public, it is difficult to disagree with a decision that is meant for the betterment of the people.