COVID-19 Series

Concentrating On COVID: Free At Last (Not Totally)

As many Americans last week heard from President Biden, those who have been vaccinated no longer have to wea a mask in public. As such many retailers including Walmart have now followed suit with this rule. Now as a vaccinated autistic person, I now have to carry my mask around from locale to locale as the mask policies may differ from location to location.

As such, my day program and employer will still require masks to be work although the mandate has been issued. In both instances, we are in closer contact and we are not permitted to ask others whether or not they have been vaccinated as this is health sensitive information and is common practice in most venues.

Now, we are in essence following the honor system as far as the non-mask wearing. One can play the “I got the shot” card and not wear the mask, in fact some have been doing so before many places have lifted the mandate. On the other side of the coin, I could have used the “I have a sensory disability “card, although each establishment has the right to make me mask or use alternative services. I, not wanting to become sick because I am not the best patient when sick chose to wear the mask throughout the mandates for that reason.

With the honor system in mind, we know that there will be rulebreakers as there already have been, without a doubt. I would just hope that those who aren’t vaccinated would honor the golden rule that if they have symptoms of COVID-19 that they would be respectful of others and stay home which is the best way to protect others should they become positive with the virus. Therefore, contact tracing would not have to occur and those identified as a close contact would not have to be tested, although if you are vaccinated and you have a negative result, then you do not have to quarantine.

I personally at this point as I can see as an autistic person a very complex understanding of when and when not to wear a mask.  The Cold Open on last week’s Saturday Night Live was a nice skit about when and when not to wear the mask that had some honest truths about the complexities of when and when not to wear a mask. As such, each scene resulted in close contact with the actors, which I know some autistics thrive for that touch of a human body from time to time. This has been hard on them and by the ever changing and complex guidelines of the CDC, it becomes increasingly difficult to explain to autistic adults who may have the 20 why’s of when and how. There are orders that allow exceptions in many states for sensory disorders, and I doubt that unless the venue mandates the wearing of a mask, that you will be asked to do so.

For example, yesterday when I went to the pharmacy, I didn’t see the signs for masks to be required in the store. I proceeded inside to the line, which I was the only one there and I asked the technician if I was required to mask, she stated that I didn’t need to. Upon examination, I seen none of the employees of the pharmacy were masked, therefore I had to assume being a pharmacy, they were all vaccinated and well to work, although I know I am protected as I have a shield protecting them from me, so I feel comfortable in this situation.

As that was just one situation, it goes to show you that this could change at several intervals in the course of the day. I have been very careful to not get into close contact with anyone through this whole pandemic and I want to continue in that effort to say that I am a survivor and that I made it. These blogs will have been proven evidence that I have faired well along with the other issues in my life.\

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, My Friends.

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