California’s indoor mask mandate is gone, for now. So is Humboldt County’s local mask mandate. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to wear a mask anywhere ever again. Some institutions – schools, for now, and the court – are going to keep requiring masks. Some of the businesses you frequent regularly are going to require masks.

This latter bit is going to cause some chaos. First of all, there’s still a mask mandate in effect for people who haven’t gotten vaccinated. If you were to Venn Diagram the state of play, we all know that you’d see strong overlap between the people who don’t want to get vaccinated and people who most eagerly don’t want to wear their masks.

So for this reason and probably others, certain private establishments are going to keep requiring you to mask up. And this, in turn, is going to return us to the bad old days of the early pandemic, when these private businesses are going to require their employees to serve as bouncers, enforcing their policy against the sometimes unruly patrons who insist that they get to decide what policy is valid and what is not.

That’s on top of the everyday confusion that we’ll all experience – mask here, not there, etc. When should I wear a mask? When should I not? Mask on, mask off – auugh!

We propose, to people of good faith, that there is a very easy law to live by, with antecedents stretching all the way back to the Golden Rule. Look at the workers. If you go into a business and a worker is wearing a mask, then you are wearing a mask.

Wear your mask if for no other reason than to show solidarity with your neighbors. The reason they’re wearing a mask is so they don’t risk showering germs on you. Either they’re doing this by choice or because they were ordered to. Doesn’t matter. What you can do – vaxxed and unvaxxed alike – is wear a mask so you don’t risk showering germs on them.

Pretty simple, right? 

What if one worker is wearing a mask and the other isn’t?

Wear a mask.

But what if that mask-wearing worker is unvaccinated? I feel like since maybe she refused the vaccine she is getting what she deserves. That thrills me a little bit, and I feel like it’d be good to rub her face in it by showing her the freedom that the vaxxed have earned.

Listen to yourself.

What if the sign outside says “No masks required! Come in and live free!” but the workers are wearing masks?

Wear your mask.

What if it’s a grocery store, and like 15 workers aren’t wearing masks but one is?

OK, that’s a gray area.

What if the workers are masked but I can’t wear a mask because the point of this business is to sell me stuff to put in my mouth?

Another gray area. Everyone understands that. Just be respectful. Wear a mask when you’re not at your table.

What if I have a local radio talk show and my whole brand is to be a big oversized baby and to whine and cry about masks and government overreach and the way things used to be?

WWJD? If the workers were wearing masks, then he would wear a mask. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:40.

What if the workers aren’t wearing masks but I’m unvaccinated?

Sorry, buddy. Wear a mask.

What if the workers aren’t wearing masks and I am vaccinated?

Head on in and party like it’s 2019!

But I don’t want to do that! I think everyone should still be masked!

There are two things you can do, here.

One: Call up the business on the phone and ask them if they can meet you on the curb with the thing that you want to buy. I bet they’ll do it! Businesses are businesses. They like to help their customers purchase things from them.

Two: If that fails, maybe instead go to a different business, one that is still requiring masks?

I don’t know. I feel you. You’ve done everything you’re supposed to do, and the pandemic is still an inconvenience. Just please don’t take your cues on how to behave from the maskholes. You don’t need to flip out and rage around town screaming at everyone to put their masks back on. Right? You’re better than that.

We’re all better than that. We have it in us!