COVID-19 Series

Concentrating On COVID: Normalcy and Bondaries

We are narrowing down to the point that masking orders will be going away in my state. However, that doesn’t mean wearing a mask is totally wiped off the slate of the American culture. Establishments, at their governed choosing may elect to mandate the wearing of masks, whether or not you are fully vaccinated. While things are winding down for me, I still chose to keep my guard up.

It can be so hard when an autistic person such as myself has to change his routine from one thing to another. The pandemic has brought forth such a change that has become challenging for me to realize what is indeed supposed to be normal because I have moved twice in the pandemic and am still trying to get a feel of what is normal in my new world. I remember last week my mon and I dined in a fast-food restaurant in our town that previously daunted with all kinds of reminders about wearing a mask, limiting use of tables and areas and social distancing in certain areas. When we over the past weekend, those signs have disappeared and the only thing present was the face shield at the order counter

Most other establishments in my community are trying to regain a sense of normalcy, however with government incentives, this inhibits the ability to hire employees to meet the demand of those who would like to patron their establishments. For instance, the grab and go pizza establishment near my house is known to close several days a week and the local sub shop is only open a few hours as there is only one employee there and the fountain has been out of order for some time which makes me wonder if it will ever get fixed or will the establishment close permanently.

In my end of the world, as of this writing for my transportation, specifically for the day program, prescreening is no longer required prior to boarding. Capacity has been increased to the maximum limit. Next Monday, if one chooses, they do not have to wear a mask. Many are on edge to not wear them now. While it has been pressed that us members are on the honor system as far as self-reporting if we become ill or have signs of illness, I do not totally have faith in persons being honest not because I don’t trust them, but several members are coerced into coming to program regardless if there are visible signs of illness.

There are several theories out there about COVID. What we do know for the majority is that universal masking does prevent a great deal against other COVID. I personally believe that wearing a mask is a personal choice that must be respected among each other. We simply do not know the conditions that each and every person on this planet has or their comfort level being in public.

For every story we hear about autistics having difficulties wearing a mask, I know and hear of several autistics like myself who have no difficulty in wearing masks when necessary. It is safe to say that most autistics want to safe and not want to be sick as it makes us very unpleasant and causes unfavorable behavior, especially for those who like to speak.

I encourage any autistic person who would still feel more comfortable wearing a mask in whatever situation that they feel that their risk of illness would be compromising to please do so. No one can tell you not to wear a mask simply because they don’t think you want to. Any person should have the right to make their own judgement in how to govern their safety, if they are unsure, seek out the help of a trusted professional or friend/family member. For all you know, you may feel comfortable in a mask for other reasons because it gives you protection for other reasons and for that I encourage it because sometimes I feel that way too.  The last thing that anyone wants, more so an autistic person is to end up in a medical facility with a host of changes with the inability to see their loved ones and supports as often as they need to. We are fighting COVID the best way that we can and I want to thank the autism community in general from my platforms for being ever so patient in a world that has been a host of scary changes over the past 15 months.

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