Currently, there is a lot of controversy in the country regarding the wearing of face masks. Some folks don’t think the masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 and some feel they are very helpful. This article is not about that.
Governor Asa Hutchinson has mandated the wearing of face masks in the state of Arkansas beginning Monday, July 20, 2020.
Masks are required when in public for all indoor environments where people are around non-household members and where six-foot social distancing cannot be maintained.
Wearing masks that cover the mouth and nose will also be required in all outdoor environments if distancing of six feet among nonhousehold members is not possible.
Citing several reasons for the mandate, the Governor explained, there are increasing COVID cases in Arkansas and we need to do more to prevent the virus.
To mask or not to mask
In our Facebook Group, Hot Springs Village People the suggestion was made to not confront people not wearing masks but to report them to the authorities instead if you felt the need. This discussion quickly became a hotbed of activity. Discussion is healthy and it is good to hear from all sides of an issue and many respectful and intelligent comments were made. Permission to use the following quotations (without names) has been granted.
Why wearing face coverings may be difficult for some
A group member stated, “I wear a mask in public with asthma and epilepsy. I do my best to keep it on at all times unless I get to the point to where I can’t breathe. Epileptics can have seizures and I can have an asthma attack from wearing a mask but with underlying health conditions, I try my best to have one on in all public places even though it’s hard sometimes…if I would have to take it off at any point I would hate for someone to call the ‘authorities’ on me or confront me over it.”
Someone responded with, “I am also unable to wear a mask for the reasons you stated but people do not believe it is true and still look at you with distaste. Don’t judge someone you know nothing about. Take responsibility for your own protection and let others take care of theirs.”
Some members explain why masks should be worn
A group member stated, “All I know for sure is that my only baby works at Walmart. There are not a lot of places to work in the Village. She is here for me. PLEASE respect her as she respects you. She works hard to make your experience there a good one. She is kind and good and respectful of everyone. I could not manage without her. She shops after she is off the clock for our neighbors that are elderly. She is concerned about them. PLEASE put yourself in her place. She could be your loved one. But praise God she is mine. Just wear the mask as she wears hers.”
One poster said, “I’ll continue to wear a mask when I go into a business place. I’ll continue to not touch common items, like door or gas pump handles without protection. I do it for me and for you. Not out of fear, but care and respect. I’d rather be safe than sorry. My body, my choice.”
Another group member explained that some people have PTSD because they were in abusive situations where someone covered their mouths or faces, wearing a mask is impossible for them and causes them to have flashbacks. (Per group rules, I cannot copy and paste without permission of the poster, but of course, the subjects discussed in the private Facebook Group can be discussed elsewhere.)
Someone else chimed in, “I was in Walmart about a month ago. Did not have on a mask. An older gentleman passed me; pulled down his mask and started coughing A LOT. I thought that he was in distress because maybe the mask gave him a breathing problem. I was contemplating if I should help in some way, then he just passed me and pulled his mask back on. Please be kind to each other people; no matter what your philosophy is about this whole thing.”
Masking a problem
There has been a huge increase in anger and impatience in this country since the COVID-19 situation has reared it’s ugly head. Someone called our situation “house arrest.” And although not completely true, it almost seems like it is. All of our lives have been impacted in so many ways and most of us are just staying at home as much as possible. This self-imposed isolation tends to wear on people causing frayed nerves. This is normal. Most humans are social creatures and desire to be around others. Physical interaction with others, a wholesome and natural activity, has been greatly curtailed.
The moral of the story is, we don’t always know the situation of another person. Perhaps there is a medical reason someone is not wearing a face mask. Perhaps there isn’t. We just don’t know.
Stay safe everyone! Thank you for reading.
By Cheryl Dowden, July 18, 2020