Opinion: Who Matters More? The People, or Their Comfort?

By Oona Dalzell-Sexton

People don’t have to take off their masks, but plenty will.

In this semi-dystopian world we live in, masks have become the social norm. We as a people are no longer used to a world without masks. And rightfully so, considering mask mandates have been instilled for the health and safety of the population. But there will always come a time when people will have had enough. When no longer wearing masks has taken priority over the safety of themselves and their peers. But when is the right time to lift these mandates? How much longer will people be willing to put others before themselves? 

“I feel kind of weird about it because it has been so long, but it might just be because it has been so long,” Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) film senior Haeyon Kang said. “But then again, maybe it is the right time.” She says, unsure of herself. And that insecurity in what is right and what is wrong is truly the crux of this issue. Because everyone is trying to do the “right thing” in this scenario.

Places like New Jersey and New York lifted mask mandates because they are taking more importance in the comfortability of the people of their states rather than their health and safety. They have made the choice for the people.

Of course, people don’t have to take off their masks, but plenty will. And the fact is, New York and New Jersey can’t be sure what will happen because of it. Maybe it’s the right time, but maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it will never be the right time because people have become so used to masks that many feel naked without them. New Jersey will never really know if they’re making the right decision until they do it, and neither will anyone else until they do it. But does that mean they should follow the trend of places like New York and New Jersey? Without knowing the consequences? 

While there is a limit to how much humankind is willing to put others above themselves, there is a way to combat the almost guaranteed consequences that are sure to come with the lifting of the mask mandates. Certain precautions put in place to limit the spread of this disease: Placing things like vaccine checks for people who choose not to wear masks in places of work, trains, schools. It secures a more safe environment and makes the spread of the virus highly less likely to spread in cesspools of disease like schools.

The problem is, how do we know people aren’t lying just to prioritize their own comfort?

“It might be hard to certify people without masks are vaccinated in places like schools,” says FSSA Senior Anastasia Bordone.

And that is the hard truth of the matter.

There have been so many circumstances where people have been willing to lie about their vaccination status to do things and not do things, all because, like many, they care very little about the well-being of others. And how much can we really control? How much can we really contain the lengths people will go to secure their freedom in the world. To make others suffer for the sake of them. That is what comes with a lift of the mask mandate.

A world where when people don’t need to concern themselves with others, they simply won’t. Of course, the mask mandates should be lifted at one point. We shouldn’t be made to wear masks forever, but we should still be putting our fellow man before our own comfort. We should still be considering immunocompromised people, new variants, and the satisfaction lifting these mandates would give to anti-maskers.

A satisfaction they should never come close to.  We must not give them that satisfaction. We must make a decision that is not just good for a few. But good for all. And waiting for a higher vaccination rate before lifting the mandate, would be that decision. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those solely of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Bennett as a whole.