An Open Letter To The Man Who Yelled at Me For Wearing a Mask Outdoors
At this moment, I am angrier than I have been throughout the duration of quarantine.
I was walking down a relatively quiet street in Manayunk (Philadelphia) today when a man seated at a restaurant on the OTHER side of the street shouted to me about wearing a mask.
No, he wasn't yelling at me to put a mask on. He was yelling at me to take my mask OFF.
Yeah, I was actually confused at first because I didn't realize he was talking to me. He was on the other side of the street enjoying a burger and a Bud Light at 1 pm with a friend when he shouted:
"COME ON, MAN! TAKE THE [EXPLETIVE] MASK OFF. YOU’RE OUTSIDE."
So... I have some things to say to you:
I did not respond to you because I knew the fight was not one I wanted to have on a Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, I don't think anything I would have said out loud could convince you otherwise.
But why do you feel the need to yell at me for doing my part to help others? How did my decision to wear a mask NEGATIVELY impact you during a leisurely lunch?
I'm sure you've seen the news that COVID-19 cases are surging once again across the nation. In fact, just moments before your unnecessary outburst, the city of Philadelphia announced that due to our rising cases, they've instituted an updated facial covering order.
Masks are now required if you're going to be indoors or outdoors, and social distancing is not possible with people who don't live in your home. So I wanted to make sure anyone passing by would feel safe if they came close to me.
I also don't need to tell you that bars in Texas are now CLOSED because their caseload is rising at an alarming pace, and it's a similar story in Florida and other states.
Masks are NOT difficult to wear. In fact, I honestly forgot I was wearing one at the time so I didn't realize you were speaking to me.
Sure it can be annoying at times, but it's a VERY small price to pay for the safety of all of us. I want you to be able to enjoy a leisurely 1 pm Bud Light outside with a friend, but if that's going to happen... we need to work together. In fact, I worry that Philadelphia's bars may close soon too because of people like you.
You've undoubtedly heard that science has proven that facial coverings in public settings (especially in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain) can significantly help prevent community-spread transmission of this vicious disease. You're just choosing to ignore it.
So I sincerely hope you're part of the minority viewpoint on face masks.
I want to believe my Philadelphia brothers and sisters believe in science, and they're following the recommendations from our local officials and healthcare experts. I know all of those experts and healthcare workers are doing SO MUCH to keep us all safe.
And, yes, there are good people out there. In fact, just prior to this incident, I was so impressed when I was in Center City for my hair appointment. On the streets, I saw nearly 100 percent mask compliance outside. My salon implemented incredible safety measures that kept all of us safe.
But, sir, for you to enjoy a Friday afternoon beer with a friend -- we're going to have to work harder. We need to break the "stigma" of wearing a mask... together
When my grandmother passed away last month, my family wasn't able to gather for a traditional funeral because of the virus. Large gatherings are still banned, so my family didn't get to mourn at her gravesite, and it pains me because there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who have faced this same hardship this year.
So if you're not willing to comply with this simple request, please stay away from me. And stay away from others.
But because I want to be safe (and to keep my loved ones and society safe) -- do NOT guilt me (and the others) for taking simple proactive steps so we all can enjoy life's simple pleasures... like a burger and a beer outside on a Friday afternoon.
PS: I hope to see you outside next Friday afternoon when I go for a walk because that'll mean we're both still healthy.