The Great Mask Debate



By Bruce Corcoran

Let’s talk masks, folks. The issue has seemingly polarized the entire community. 

So many people vehemently in favour, so many manically against.

Dr. David Colby, our medical officer of health, continues to not make them mandatory locally. His mindset is social distancing, hand washing, and physical barriers are more important, and cloth masks can give a false sense of security.

He’s right. And maybe he’s wrong.

I’ve seen firsthand in stores that some people who don a cloth or paper mask feel they have the right to just barge through and not respect social distancing with other people.

Not cool.

But I have seen unmasked folks do the same thing.

However, I do believe that I’ve seen more mask wearers do it than the unmasked. But that’s personal memory and not at all scientific.

I do know that when I wear a mask, I am more alert to the sober realities of what we need to do during this pandemic. Social distancing is my first thought, even with a mask on.

I look at the fabric covering as a sign things aren’t “normal.”

To me, the mask is a reminder.

And, of course, we all know the cloth and paper masks won’t necessarily protect the individuals wearing them from getting COVID-19, right? It’s a rather important issue.

The masks can limit some of the droplets you exhale or send out when you speak, from going anywhere. Naturally, there is some escape of smaller droplets, hence the need to social distance.

And, please remember the biggest need of social distancing is that by staying six feet or further apart, we cut our chances of being exposed to the spray of those small liquid droplets from others.

Even with a cloth or paper mask on, you can be exposed to those droplets.

So stay apart.

As I mentioned, I do wear a mask, but not all the time. I take one with me wherever I go; it’s in the truck for easy access. 

Go to a grocery store, don a mask. That’s my motto. Unless I forget the mask in the truck, which I did this week. I encountered a friend I had not seen in months and we stood about seven feet apart, carts out of the main aisle, and caught up briefly.

Social distanced.
Several folks went right between us rather than easily go around us. Maskers. Not pointing fingers, just stating an observed fact.

Shame on us, I guess, for chatting.
But I digress. If masks are made mandatory, I will make a greater effort to wear one, for sure.
If they aren’t made mandatory, I will make a greater effort to wear one, for sure.

As stated, donning a mask makes me more aware of the COVID-19 reality we face today. So while it may not physically prevent me from contracting COVID, in my case, it helps me remember to social distance.

I must also mention that as I type this, 98 per cent of the rest of the province has mandatory mask orders in place. Are we harming ourselves by not following suit? Do people come to C-K to shop because there is no mask order in place, and, therefore, are we opening ourselves up to potential added exposure as a result? Remember, Windsor-Essex, the provincial hot spot for COVID, is right next door.

In reality, the debate might not be about me or you, but rather about someone else who comes from a place with a higher incidence of COVID. Just coming here, to them, may provide them with a false sense of security. Making sure they wear a mask when shopping here might remind them to follow other safety protocols.


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