Mask or No Mask

September 28, 2020
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I’ve had a number of people ask me if folks are wearing masks in Vermont. First of all, I have a very limited exposure to other people here. I see a few friends locally and we’re not always wearing masks because we’re not dealing with people who aren’t from the neighborhood. There’s no virus right around here.

Second, when I do venture out, it’s to the grocery store or to pick up take-out locally. I’m in a very rural area of Vermont. There aren’t a lot of people in the grocery store. Take-out pick up is usually outside. Almost everyone in town, even though it is a TINY town, is wearing a mask walking on the street, or at least as soon as they get close enough, they put on a mask,

Lincoln, Vermont, the town I live in, has a tiny general store and that’s it. Lincoln is 44 square miles with a population of 1,250. A square mile is 640 acres. That’s 22.5 acres per person. To put it in perspective, Washington, D.C. is 68 square miles with a population of 705,000. That’s 0,06 acres per person. We’ve got lots of room for social distancing.

Bristol, the next town over has 3,800 people and has a couple of restaurants and a modest chain grocery store, and a Walgreens. The next nearest decent grocery store is at least 30 mins from my house. We’re out in country, on the edge of a huge national forest, in the mountains.

Right now, we’re experiencing a drought. Every day someone new on the road (it’s a dirt road, btw) has had their well run dry. We’ve had hardly any rain all summer. Our well at the house here has run dry. It’s challenging, but no one is complaining as things are much worse for people elsewhere. We have no fires. We know rain will come. In fact, I just learned it’ll be coming this week.

Back to the masks.

People wear masks in stores and public places here because they care about their neighbors.

In a rural community like this people help each other. If someone is sick, neighbors take food, they cut wood, they shovel snow, they go to the store for them. When you have excess squash in the garden, you distribute it to neighbors. You care and you share.

In this environment, to not wear a mask would be to say that you don’t care about your neighbors and community. It’s that simple.

I understand the politics of masks, and, in this neck of the woods, it’s just common courtesy to wear a mask.

It’s a sign that you care about more than yourself – and politics.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong to wear a mask – I’m only sharing what I feel is happening here in this community in rural Vermont because so many people have asked me.

Almost every time I go to the grocery store I have a little dance I do. I put on my lip balm, I get out of my car and walk to the store, then I realize I forgot my mask, I turn around and go back to my car. I wipe off the lip balm so I don’t smear it on the mask and I put on my mask and walk back to the store. I’m just now getting to the point where I remember to bring a mask.

This won’t last forever, but it is what’s happening right now. I’m not afraid of the virus. I’m not afraid, because there’s nothing for me to fear.

I do care that people know that I care and so I wear a mask.

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