Disclaimer: this is an observation about the mask-no-mask situation in my province 🇨🇦. Share your perspective but don’t shame or ridicule anyone please. I’m not afraid to delete or block derogatory comments.
I scanned some headlines the other day and came across one that irked me a little. I’m going to express my view on it here because this is my blog and I do what I want here. The article pointed out that it’s easy to spot a Canadian in an American airport. (I’m not going to link to it, I’m not a fan of that particular newscast.)
Because apparently, Canadians are all wearing masks.
First off, that’s a very generalized statement. Did they count each person? Did they approach each masked individual and ask them if they were Canadian? How about the unmasked ones?
Secondly, so what? What if it’s at least partially true?
If the article specified “all” Canadians in American airports are masked, are they referring to all airports across the continent?
I think not. I think they spun it by taking a snapshot of a well traveled corridor at this time if year and focused primarily on major airports Canadians are known to travel to this time of year.
Here’s something to consider.
The most populated province in Canada is Ontario, where I live. The biggest airport in Canada is Toronto’s Pearson International airport. It stands to reason then that a large percentage of Canadian travelers are flying in and out of the USA via Toronto. (In fact, you can pre-clear customs before departing Toronto which makes landing in the US so much easier when you get to your destination.)
If you’re new here, or not from Canada, you may not know that we suffered 22 months of heavy restrictions and heavy lockdowns (4) which have plunged the collective mental health of people, especially children, into a dire, serious crisis. I know, I have two kids. It plunged many people of all ages into varying degrees of challenge, be it economic, financial, mental or emotional (or all of the above).
What this means is, as everything continues to open up here, Ontario’s inhabitants are more than a little nervous. They are keenly aware that the politicians, heavily influenced by unions in industry, drive the decision-making when it comes to lockdowns and restrictions. These decision-makers are influenced by lack of adequate space and staffing in hospitals to handle waves of illnesses (most currently these novel viruses) and often quickly slam the door shut on all of us at a moment’s notice in the name of preserving a system that has proven unable to function properly even during non-pandemic times.
So let’s assume the article is at least partially correct and that many, even most Canadians, are wearing masks in American, or any airports.
These masked Canadians may do this even if they doubt the effectiveness of long-term mask wearing (some do, some don’t).
Here is how I see it.
Canadian travelers from Ontario are going to carry, and often wear masks because they are petrified we’ll be subjected to another lockdown should the covid waves peak again and the virus spread (which it will, I think we’ve all come to terms about this reality).
Truth be told, I’m tired of the masks myself. But I still carry them with me wherever I go. Mostly I wear one inside certain stores but I’m beginning to make adjustments as I evaluate my circumstances.
For instance, I stepped into four different stores in one day recently, and one hair salon at the end of that day. Three were chains, one was a brick and mortar shop, and the salon was small and independently owned. Most stores have signs encouraging people to wear masks. Legally, it’s optional.
Two of the chain stores (a small drug store and a Dollarama) were relatively busy but not crowded. I wore my mask. The cashiers wore masks. The staff stocking shelves did as well out in the aisles but not in the stockroom which I could see through the open doors.
At the LCBO, where I went to buy a couple of bottles of wine, I did not wear my mask. I saw customers exit the store without masks. The store was large, spacious and not busy. Distancing between people was easy. The two cashiers that were open were shielded behind plexiglass and both wore masks. The security guard, the manager and some of the stock loading staff in the aisles did not wear masks. Seems it was hit and miss, and individual choices were respected.
Side note: what is up with armed security in the booze stores? Is this a new thing? Anyone from Ontario know what that’s about?
In the small vegetable shop, which was crowded and tight with several elderly, masked customers, I wore my mask. Seemed like a no-brainer.
And at the salon, run by two ladies who tended to two elderly, masked customers, my daughter and I also decided to wear our masks. Both hairdressers kept their masks on as well.
Back in the suburbs last week in my mom’s neighbourhood, at the large chain grocery store, few people wore masks on days when it wasn’t particularly busy. Most cashiers didn’t, but some of the staff stocking shelves did.
Yet at the rink, where distancing was possible but not always observed, most people went in maskless. It might be worth saying that until recently, you had to be double-vaccinated to enter the rink and since this is the same season still, we know we’re all vaxxed. But I only saw one parent wearing a mask among a big group of people watching our boys try out, who wore a mask. The parents all stood together as they had been all season, and all of them vaxxed and many of them recovered from covid themselves. Some of my own family went through a relatively mild case of this virus as well, and thankfully we were spared complications.
My point here is, it’s quite possible to be accommodating and respectful toward other people no matter your own beliefs. When my daughter and I entered the salon and saw everyone masked, we didn’t even hesitate, we simply put on the masks and that was that. I didn’t have to, but I didn’t mind.
Now, about the new hair. What do you think?
Thank you for reading my post. 🙂