The Citizen (Gauteng)

Mind your mask manners

- Danie Toerien

We have to be honest and admit we’ll probably be wearing masks for the rest of our days. I just don’t see the world’s health experts waking up next Wednesday and unanimousl­y declaring that masks are no longer needed.

On the contrary, I expect the rules around masks to become stricter, with legislatio­n governing, for example, the type of material allowed.

Hopefully, there will also be a ban on disposable masks sooner rather than later, considerin­g the environmen­tal crisis the billions of discarded masks can unleash.

So, if we are going to live with masks, I think it’s time we agree on a set of guidelines, as well as etiquette.

I, for one, believe that a mask falls in the same clothing category as underwear. It’s not a garment which should be shared under any circumstan­ces – not even after it has been washed.

It’s also not a garment which should be placed on my kitchen table. Sies! How would you feel if I pop my dirty underpants on your Noritake dinnerware?

Fold it up neatly and place it in your pocket.

Like underwear, masks also have a limited lifespan. Just like your Jockey, there comes a time when it needs to be replaced – preferably before it has a few holes.

People should also try and remember why they are forced to wear a mask in the first place.

The whole idea behind the mask is that it’s a simple barrier to help prevent your respirator­y droplets from reaching others.

In the past few weeks, both the cashier at my local liquor store and my pharmacist committed the ultimate mask crime: they slipped an index finger under their mask, gave it a quick lick, and proceeded to use the wet finger to open a shopping bag. I nearly had a heart attack.

And another thing: wearing a mask doesn’t exempt you from putting your hand in front of your mouth when you yawn, cough or sneeze.

If masks have done nothing else, it has proven the old saying that common sense is not that common.

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