Toronto began a mandatory face-covering (mask) by-law on July 7, 2020 for all indoor places. Here’s the pdf: BY-LAW 541-2020
Anyway, I hate masks in public if there is a chance of having to communicate with someone. But I wear my mask and have been even before it became a by-law because I don’t want your cooties on me. 🙄 AND, I don’t want to pass them on to someone who is compromised.
I got used to wearing the masks, but I rarely go out and when I do, it’s the same old places I’ve been to many times before. I know what to expect there.
But today, I went to a bulk food store and only because mom said you no longer have to have an employee with you to scoop your product. You can scoop your own product now, like before covid.
So I went. But I knew immediately that it wasn’t going to be easy.
The girl was at the register, about 3 meters away from the front entrance, behind a plexi-shield. She had on a black face mask which covered her mouth but not her nose.
I looked at the baskets and carts and decided a basket would suffice today. There was a table with a spray bottle (like Windex spray), a box of clear plastic gloves (like the types you get included in a hair colouring kit), and some paper towels stacked loosely on top of one another. There was a cloth (reusable, not disposable) on the top basket of the stacked baskets beside the table, and a garbage full of used plastic gloves in front of the table.
But there was no sign. No instructions, no direction. What was I supped to do with the spray bottle and the dirty cloth?
I heard the girl speak but couldn’t make out what she said. I turned and looked at her, and she repeated what she said but I still couldn’t understand. I assumed she said ‘sanitize’ or something, it sounded similar.
I looked again at the table. Usually a large dispenser-type bottle is what you see in stores, not spray bottles. There was no dispenser, just that spray bottle with an orange liquid in it.
Well I ain’t gonna touch that. I don’t know what the hell I’m spraying, or if it should make contact with my skin.
I did don the gloves though and picked up the top basket with the dirty cloth on it, then picked the next basket, and put the first basket back on the stack.
I don’t know WTF was happening.
From there, I shopped the way I always do. I even picked up a couple of dog treats for the Airedale. He’s coming this weekend; I offered to dog sit.
Side note: he likes cloth, tissue and assorted knickknacks. My house is full of discarded cloths, tissue boxes and assorted knickknacks, none of which belong to me. Thereby, I will most likely enjoy a relatively clutter-free main floor of this house for the duration of this dog’s visit. Perhaps I may bend the arm of my friend to lend him to me for an extra day or three JUST BECAUSE I LIKE ORDER. 🙄
Anyway, one thing I noticed while scooping spices was that the little plastic label thingies were missing. You’re supposed to write the code on there, to make it easier for the cashier. But the little buckets were full of twist-ties, but no labels. This increased my anxiety a little bit, too. Now I will have to engage in conversation with the cashier. But hopefully, just me talking, not me having to hear anything…
It was fine. I only had four little baggies, and she had her wheel with her codes on it and she punched it in.
While she was doing that, some customers came in and I heard her speak to them the way she did to me. Despite only being about a foot away from her (she was still behind the plexi-shield), I still couldn’t understand what she was saying. AND, the entire time I was at the register, she touched her mask, and her face, at least a half dozen times.
I’m not saying any of this to judge her, even though it may come across this way. What I’m trying to process here is the habitual behaviour we all continue to engage in. If you wear glasses, if you have long hair, if you have the sniffles, it’s quite amazing how many times you touch your face without realizing it. And the girl didn’t have her mask on properly and kept shifting it…
Ok, she wore gloves while doing stuff on her register. But, if she’s an asymptomatic carrier of covid, and has now touched her mask, or her nose, and subsequently the register, those gloved hands are not protecting her. The gloves will pick up the germs from the register (unless it’s being sanitized constantly) and then, inevitably, end up on her face since she couldn’t stop touching her face.
See what I’m saying?
I know I’m guilty of touching my face too. I have long hair which is always in my face, I take my sunglasses off, put them back on, I sometimes use reading glasses…
As a relatively healthy person who is most likely not a covid carrier, I am aware of how much I touch my face when out in public because of this experience.
When I was done paying, I exited using my elbow to touch the automatic door opener, but was prevented from leaving as two new customers were coming and (not paying attention to me already halfway through the door). I stepped back into the door with my bag, and waited for them to enter.
Whatever. Maybe they didn’t see my emaciated quarantine-body and it’s obvious invisibility. (hahahahahahaahaaaaaaa!) 🙃
It was then, when I remembered to remove my gloves and deposit them into the garbage. Which required me to walk several more steps back INTO the store.
It’s a bit weird, the way it was set up.
I finally got to my car, sat in it, took off my mask by being careful only to touch the loops and not the mask part, and sanitized from the car sanitizer.
Then, I got all worked up about my next stop. Starbucks.
Only that ended up a non-issue because I sat out on the patio, and my friend had an app and dealt with the order electronically. Because, if I had to go through the whole complicated scenario in Starbucks, where even the simplest beverage is this elaborate thing, I would have probably just skipped it and went home coffee-less.