By Lindsay Gottlieb
After over a year of regular life on pause, many Pennsylvanians are thrilled to hear Governor Wolf’s administration, along with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, announce that masks will no longer be required in Pennsylvania beginning June 28.
As of May, Pennsylvanians must wear masks indoors and outdoors when they cannot maintain six feet of separation. This new order will remove those restrictions at the end of next month.
The easing of the mask mandate is due primarily to vaccine eligibility since now anyone ages 16 and older is eligible for the vaccine of their choice, and Pennsylvanians ages 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Many people have been using the phrase “returning to normalcy” to describe the effects that come along with these announcements. Ironically, this is the same phrase President Warren G. Harding used back in the election of 1920 with the Spanish Flu pandemic in its final days.
With modern day American society being so politically charged, masks have become a political issue, sparking debate on whether it is constitutional to require face coverings. The lifting of the mask mandate represents unification and relief between both parties, as life is now returning to its pre-COVID state. It seems few if any people have criticisms of this relaxed policy.
In order to fully ensure virus mitigation, Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam encourages Americans to “follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing and social distancing.”
The Council Rock classes of 2021 seniors from both North and South have just returned from their trip to Disney World, a huge step considering the state of the world a year ago today. They were also able to successfully host student-led junior and senior proms outdoors. As part of the age group who was recently approved for the COVID-19 vaccine, I was intrigued to hear my peers’ opinions on the end of the mask mandate. I have kept names anonymous for privacy purposes, as I can understand if some people are uncomfortable with publicizing their stance.
Some responses have been slightly modified to provide a translation for vernacular speech.
“Well, I’m excited to finally go mask-off in public once I receive both of my doses. I’m excited to see people smile with their mouths.”
“I 200% support it. It’s a major step [towards] showing people we can go back to normal.”
“It’s about time.”
The COVID-19 virus has not yet been completely eradicated and may never be, but we can only hope that people will continue to get vaccinated if they wish. On a personal level, I look forward to experiencing the full range of my upperclassman years as life continues to return to normal. We as a society on a national level are very close to being able to live with the coronavirus, and that is pretty uplifting news after such a trying year.