Last week, the CDC announced that Americans who have been fully vaccinated can now go maskless in MOST indoor as well as outdoor settings.

“Great”, I thought. “I’ve gotten both doses and it’ll be nice not to have to mask up all the time anymore”.

“I’ve EARNED this”, I naively thought.

Of course, we’ve since learned that the “mask freedom” announcement isn’t quite as “across-the-board” as it was presented. You’re still required to mask up if you’re on a plane, in a hospital, in cities, counties or states that have their OWN guidelines and basically anytime you’re somewhere that someone says “Wear a mask”. Honestly, I’m not even sure what the ACTUAL policy is in my own workplace. Sure, we got the CDC announcement AND we received an e-mail from our corporate head of HR confirming that we’d follow that guidance. That’s our OFFICIAL policy but not our ACTUAL policy. I know this because if I walk down a hallway without a mask I can tell that people are looking at me like I just committed a hate crime. Also, I was just in a meeting where 5 fully vaccinated adults ALL wore masks. So, clearly, there’s some dissonance going on here.

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I really didn’t go out into the wider world until this weekend. I was unsure if most places would or wouldn’t require masks. Here’s what I found out:

Most stores still have their “Mask required” signs up. Whether this is still their policy or if they just haven’t gotten around to removing the signs is unknown.

I only went to one of the malls a two other stores. I don’t know what the bars were like.

I didn’t see a single argument about masks going on.

Most people that I saw WERE wearing masks. People going from their parked car were putting on their masks before they even got to the door of the mall or store.

Based on this I guess I’m going to continue to carry a mask with me at all times, just in case. If it looks like people are wearing masks, I’ll be ready. If the store has a mask policy still in place, I’ll be ready. If NOBODY’S wearing a mask…I’ll STILL be ready (meaning I just won’t wear it. Unless somebody says I should. Or gives me a weird look. I’m really just trying to avoid any hassle at this point).

But it would be nice not to have to worry about it.