I mentioned before that we were attending a flower/patio show this past weekend. Two years ago it fell right around the time that the virus was blowing up in the US. I actually can’t remember if it got cancelled. I think it did but we had already decided that it probably wasn’t the best time to be in a crowded indoor venue. Last year’s show was cancelled as well.
I’d say that well over 95% of the attendees were not wearing masks. There were visible signs at the entrances saying that masks were strongly encouraged. There was also a big disclaimer saying that attending events like this carries a certain level of risk associated with respiratory diseases like COVID. The same disclaimer was on the website when I bought my tickets. Lawyers and CYA activities are just a part of life so it isn’t a shock to see this take on it.
I think we steered a middle course in the whole COVID response. Maybe slightly closer to the Florida end than the California end. We did the mask mandate thing starting the in early fall of 2020 and it went away in April of last year. There will still some places where one was required but most used the “strongly encouraged” thing. Again, don’t blame us if you don’t take our advice kind of thing.
What was interesting is that we used a color coding system by county based on case rate and positivity. That was supposed to trigger things like limits on how many people could be at an indoor venue. That system still existed but, once the mask mandate went away, nobody really cared even though the entire state got into the red during the Omicron wave. We are mostly at COVIDCON 0 now.
Maybe that was part of the dropping of mask mandates and I missed it or it was always more of a guideline than anything else. My opinion has always been that all of that was more for show than based on any real science. The illusion of protection without actually providing any protection.
Risk is a part of life. It is just something we need to accept and deal with. The closer we get to that, the better.
Another thing I’ve used to gauge how we are progressing to living with the virus is our grocery shopping. We go to a bigger chain place and like all good corporations, they played along with all of the theater. When the mandates were in place, a pleasant voice over the loudspeakers reminded us multiple times that our safety and the safety of their crew came first so masks were required. There were signs on the doors and a bored security person watching as people came in.
Once the mandate was dropped, the pleasant voice changed to stating that masks were recommended if you were not vaccinated or in an area with a breakout. The security guy was moved out and the signs were changed. They still had people sanitizing the carts and lining them up for us.
Noticed a couple of weeks ago that they took all the signs away. This followed the removal of the spots six feet apart at the checkout lanes and the signs telling us to maintain the proper social distancing. Some of the crew got to remove their masks but the checkout people looked like they had to keep them.
The last week, it dawned on me that the pleasant voice we had been hearing for quite some time had gone silent. And more of the crew was unmasked. There was nobody sanitizing carts even though they kept the station with the wipes so it is now do it yourself if you want to.
They’ve kept the stupid plexiglass shields with the holes where you could pass money or allow them to scan your phone. Guess the virus can’t find its way through those. Maybe it is too much work to take them down or it will just become a permanent reminder. And there will be those who may never give up their masks. But they are now the ones who aren’t “normal”.