Say What?! Should The Mask Mandate Be Removed?

Maggie Vann, reporter

     On Thursday, April 15, the Missoula County Board of Health announced that if 60% of the Missoula County population eligible for vaccines received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before May 11, the mask mandate would become a recommendation. According to The Missoulian, at the Missoula County Board of Health’s meeting on April 15, it was noted, “32,807 people in the county have been fully vaccinated.” Another 20,148 others have received their first dose and are currently awaiting their second. However, if COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people rise back above 25 in a span of seven days, then it is likely the mask mandate would continue.

     It is still expected many people would continue wearing masks and social distancing, even if the mask mandate were removed, but masks wouldn’t be required in public places like bars, gyms, grocery stores, etc. The MCPS school board, however, would likely continue to keep their mask mandate in place, because around half of students wouldn’t be able to receive the vaccine due to age restrictions.   

     Other states, such as Texas and Colorado, already decided to remove their mask mandate. Overall, there hasn’t been a huge surge in COVID-19 since. However, public stores and school boards are still making their own decisions on mask mandates, and larger cities have kept the mask mandate in place.   

     Although MCPS may continue to enforce masks even if the 60% is reached, many Hellgate students have strong opinions on the possible removal of the mask mandate. 

 

Photo by Lily Trotter

Kylie Nemacheck – Sophomore

 

     I definitely do think it is a beneficial decision [to remove the mask mandate]. I also think May 11th could possibly be a little early. I don’t really know the information and how well COVID-19 is doing, so maybe I’m wrong. It is such a pain remembering my mask to every place I go to, and it is better to be able to see people’s faces. Removing the mask mandate probably wouldn’t affect me too much, but I think it would make the world happier and let people know everything is getting better. I feel like the mask mandate should be removed when coronavirus cases are super low and there are barely any.

 

Photo by Maggie Vann

 

Adarra Decker – Junior 

 

     I definitely think that the mask mandate should continue, and that we should continue wearing them, because 40% is still a large portion of the community that’s vulnerable, and masks just act as extra protection. Removing the mask mandate would affect me, as I work on customer service, and on busy days can be exposed to upwards of 100 customers. Although we do often have barriers and ask customers to stand 6 feet back, many customers do not follow these guidelines and will lean in close. The mask mandate should be removed when at least 75% of the population is vaccinated, if not more.

 

Photo by Connor Fitzpatrick

 

Andrew Umhey – Senior

 

     The mandate should’ve never been implemented, because we are now seeing lower COVID-19 cases after no masks in opening states. I believe masks are only necessary if you are sick, and in that case you should stay home. Removing the mask mandate would make my life a lot more enjoyable, because masks are nothing more than a muzzle and a form of control, as shown by the amount of hypocrisy in the rules of wearing masks. For example, apparently COVID can’t spread if you’re eating? (It) should’ve never been implemented, it is a quite obvious violation of my right to think for myself and not wear something that does more physical harm than good.

 

Photo by Maggie Vann

 

Chloe Larsen – Freshman

 

     Personally, I don’t think this decision [to remove masks] would be beneficial to everyone. They should keep the mask mandate until everyone is vaccinated, (who can and will be) due to the safety of those who can get the virus. Because that still means 40% of the populations can spread and make the virus grow. As well as the uncertainty of the vaccine and the chances that the virus still spreads. I am below the age that can receive the vaccine right now, so it greatly affects me because I can still get the virus. I would feel unsafe being around so many people with no mask, on top of not knowing who has the vaccine and who doesn’t. I think we should hold off until a greater percentage of the population has the vaccine, or all above 16, because it ensures that no one can spread it in that group. But I think that if you haven’t, or can’t get the vaccine, you should keep your mask on.