Did you ever imagine that a big part of your life and conversations with loved ones will be devoted to facial masks? Sure, we saw them on TV; people in Asian countries used to casually wear them before all the pandemics, but not us! How did we come to that and why?
The story about facial masks as a way to keep coronavirus away keeps changing. One day we don’t need them, another day everybody is making them. One day we should not wear them, next day it’s pretty much mandatory.
So what should we do? We should read, educate ourselves, and then make decisions that are acceptable to us – that’s what. That can sometimes be easier said than done though, because every expert has different opinion about this mask phenomenon. There are different rules in every state for every type of business, and federal government with the guidance from CDC seems to be changing the official story every day.
Many of us feel that this decision should be up to us. We should find information online and be able to live our life the way we want. And there is information online, but often conflicting. At first every medical expert said that wearing a mask, unless you are sick, won’t prevent anything, but will cause shortage of PPE that is vital to nurses and doctors. Later the story changed and now we are advised to wear a mask anywhere in public, and in case of California - even on the beach and in a gym, when those open up. Being advised is OK, but being forced to makes many people uneasy.
Unfortunately, we are going to live with this virus for a very long time, and as more stores and services open up, masks are going to be mandatory. This we can sometimes deal with, but don’t make us wear suffocating masks in the parks, beaches, and while working out. People with asthma and PTSD after abuses, where masks were involved, should never wear them. Kids under 2 and even a bit older shouldn’t wear them either. Everybody with health conditions that can worsen with mask should put them away. But then how will those people go into a Costco or get their groceries from Trader Joe’s?
It’s a bit trickier when it comes to big congregations of people, where workers are involved and have to deal with crowds of people all day long, like Costco. These should be the only cases where mask requirements are understandable. And maybe hospitals too. Those with underlying conditions could ask friends or relatives to shop for them or talk to a store managers about exemptions. There are always ways to work a mutually beneficial arrangement that leaves both sides happy.
I, personally, am done with masks and won’t subject myself or my kids to them. I feel safe without them and don’t think I am endangering anybody else if I am healthy and careful not to sneeze on anybody. I don’t like mingling with crowds and I can live without Costco if it encroaches on my rights. My opinion is that we all should have a freedom to make that choice, but it is taken away from us by limiting access to information.
At the end of it all, cotton masks don’t safeguard from flying droplets with the virus when somebody sneezes next to me. This is enough for me to stop torturing myself with all sorts of masks.
However, if you believe in masks and want to shop at establishments where masks are mandatory, there are many places where you can buy masks of all kinds. And one way or another, these days we all should have a couple of them at home, just in case.
Sun shield at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s - $15-$59
Both of those sister stores have plenty of face sunshield masks. Some of them are made for hunting and have holes for mouth and nose, which would defeat the purpose, but some are covering the entire face except eyes. There are also ski masks that leave open eyes, but closed everything else. Some sun shields come with matching caps, making them very versatile parts of sets.
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You also have men’s and women’s neck gaiters that can serve as masks. If nothing else, they all will block sun, snow, and even scent, so you can be safe in the mountains skiing and hunting any time.
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Saks 5th Avenue - $16 - $59
This luxury retailer was closed for a while and then reopened in many places, but with mask requirements for its employees. While masks are optional for store patrons, they can definitely buy some there. There are cute masks for kids starting at $16, colorful packs of two for adults from La Superbe for $26, soft ones for babies from Bari Lynn for $12.50, and fancy single masks from Chiara Boni La Petite Robe for $59. All the masks are available for preordering only.
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Gold Sheep clothing - $15 - $25
This upscale athletic retailer features quite a few trendy design masks. More expensive ones have a zipper on the lips, while cheaper ones come in colors that match their clothing sets – think daisies, rainbows, and tie die.
Etsy - $95+
This is your heaven for masks that can say anything, from your name, your business name, to a short message and you political views. If you are silenced with a mask, let it speak for you, right? You can get simple ones for just over $4, USA-made colorful creations, various funny prints for $13.99, and custom-made that start at just $4 and ship within 1-2 days.
Cubcoats - $12.99 for 2
This store is perfect for cotton masks for kids. Sets of two are just $13 and can be matched to their zip up animal hoodies, so your child can feel less stressed out about having to wear a mask when he really has to.
These come in various colors, brands, and prices. You can buy them just about anywhere and use them for way more than just masks. In fact, you should use them as protection from the sun before anything else. They also serve as stylish head gear when you have a bad hair day or just want to create head turning style.
Sun stoppers can be perfect scarves, and only at the end of it all you should put them on your face to be a temporary mask for when you really have to wear one.