As we are into week two being mostly restriction free from the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are beginning to see what normal is. Along with government mandates being lifted, within the upcoming time restrictions at the places I frequent are being eased as well. However, I with COVID-19, I feel that it was a teaching moment to the world for several reasons.
Today marks one week since all restrictions have been lifted in my state with the exception of Universal Masking. However, that is something that many chose not to practice or feel confident without masking in the community. While masking is still practiced in some regard, it is being part of what is a different normal.
Since having the chance to be in public since some mandates for masking have been lifted for the fully vaccinated such as myself, I have experienced some of that freedom.
With the recent changes in the COVID masking order, it has been confusing to say the least. Especially if you are vaccinated, it can be more cumbersome as to where you are mandated to wear your mask. To further compound this issue, it can be challenging because it is on the honor system and you just can’t go up to someone and ask if they are vaccinated because of privacy laws. To further compound these issues, in my state next week, all COVID-related restrictions will be lifted.
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.
Change in autistics is a known challenge, I oftentimes mask what I am feeling and then vent it out to someone that I consider it my safe person. But when someone who wants to be there for me says don’t be in a negative attitude and that they care so much that I can’t push them away because they show that they care.
Change as it is for anyone, is especially hard for me, but once I putter through it, I feel I will be fine. I know that it is good for me to be at the facility and once I am there, I will find something to keep me busy and will be fine with myself to the point it will look as if this whole worrying thing will be just a blimp of air.
Well, we are in that homestretch where I promised where the services delivered to me would gravitate to a more in-person approach rather than being hybrid or virtually delivered as they mostly have been the past 13 months or so.
Today, in preparation of writing this article, I came across a photo from a year ago when universal masking was mandated in Pennsylvania. While we have came far in the COVID-19 Pandemic, I am afraid to say that Universal Masking and Social Distancing will become the fabric of our lives like cotton for some time. One day we will get there, but until the day we are sure that the vaccines are indeed effective and there is a very minimal risk of contracting the ill effects of the virus, then we will be wearing the masks for a while.
As we near our 13th month in a worldwide pandemic, we are getting ever leerier of wearing our masks and we are tired of hearing and seeing the signs of social and physical distancing. Too, we are experiencing virtual meeting fatigue, yet with the onset of three vaccinations, we are becoming fearless of being around others without protective devices.