May 02, 2022 12:24
Masks are no longer mandatory outdoors except in some crowded places as of Monday, eliciting both hopes and concerns. Most people seem relieved by the decision but willing to keep wearing masks voluntarily when they find that necessary to prevent infection.
Masks must still be worn at gatherings of more than 50 people and during sports and other crowded events, but there is some confusion about mixed indoor-outdoor settings and what exactly constitutes a crowd.
One office worker said, "I've been wearing a mask every day for almost two years so I feel awkward without one. There's no reason not to wear one because of the continued risk of catching COVID-19 as well as the common cold and to avoid inhaling fine dust."
Another said, "I don't want to catch COVID and intend to keep wearing my KF94 mask."
Others got used to the anonymity and other benefits of being hidden behind a mask. One 29-year-old office worker said, "I don't have to wear makeup because of my mask, which has cut down a lot on the time I take to go outside."
But many are relieved. In one survey last month, 51.8 percent of respondents said they intend to keep wearing masks until they feel safe even though the mandate has been lifted, while 26.3 percent said they will continue wearing them even after the pandemic ends. Only 21.9 percent said they will definitely not wear masks any more.
On Monday morning, the daily tally of new infections stood at just 20,084.
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