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Why lifting COVID restrictions doesn’t have to change your mindset

Mask mandates and COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Nova Scotia. But for many, myself included, nothing will change in day-to-day life.

Two years and we have finally come to some sort of an end to this horror movie of a pandemic we call COVID-19; even if the pandemic is still very much in existence around the globe. Mask mandates and social distancing restrictions are now being lifted across Canada, and in Nova Scotia they were lifted on March 21. 

While this is a huge relief for many, it creates a dilemma for others. 

I want to feel comfortable walking into the Atlantic Superstore on Quinpool Road without a mask. I also want to feel confident if I choose to walk in with a mask on. 

I want my fellow Haligonians to respect my choices for personal health and safety.

Although we don’t need a mask to shop as of late, we also don’t know everyone’s health concerns or why they may choose to stay masked up. 

  There are many reasons why some people might not toss away their three-layered cover ups right away. It could be age or protecting a loved one, but it also could be for personal comfort. And that’s okay. 

Not everyone is going to be able to move on from a two-year health disaster overnight and get back to living everyday routines like we did in 2019. Time has always been key in returning to what we once called normal, and I’m in no rush. 

If it’s not broken don’t fix it

If wearing a mask protects me from sickness aside from COVID-19, why change what works so well? Now, that may be an argumentative statement for some, and everyone is welcome to their own angle. Overall, however, we need to respect one another’s decisions regardless of government by-laws and mandate shifts. 

I assumed when this day came that I’d feel more enthusiastic than I do. When your life revolves around one thing (COVID-19) and suddenly your actions differ from the people you see and the stores you support, it’s hard to remember what you did before masks were part of your everyday look. 

I think this pandemic has lasted much longer than we expected and it will likely take just as long to feel comfortable in our old shoes again – if the virus doesn’t force us to mask-up again first. 

Going into public with a mask on might be the reality for many people as restrictions adjust and we try to go back to the good old days. I believe there needs to be a middle ground in Nova Scotia that allows for both views: Those who are ready to move on and those who aren’t quite there yet.

This feels like a full circle moment

I was in the lineup for Home Depot back in March 2020. Although it wasn’t mandatory yet, many people in line had some form of facial covering. I still couldn’t get past the fact that this was becoming normal. That was the first time I walked into a store with a mask on and noticed the negative looks I was getting from people I didn’t know. 

Then, the judgement, the fear and the overall nerves seemed to overtake people’s brains. Here we are more than two years later. Now, I’m looking at people who choose not to wear a mask like they’re out of their minds. It’s surreal how time changes us all. 

At the end of the day, there doesn’t need to be a rhyme or reason for the masking choice you make when you leave your house. I feel confident in wearing my mask at work, to school and into a mall. Not only for myself but for the respect of my peers, and for what they may have endured during this two-year span. 

I enjoy taking a second to reflect on how I’ve ended up where I am today through positive and negative challenges.  

We can’t change the past, but as society changes, we can all move forward from here.

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