Comfort Level Without a Mask Varies in Bay Area Residents

A Bay Area psychologist says there are many mental factors in play around the idea of wearing a mask or not

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Every Californian has a decision to make as the state gets ready to fully reopen Tuesday and most of them center around wearing masks.

For many, the idea of ditching their masks altogether is a little daunting since for the past year or so, they’ve been told it will keep them safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. One psychologist points out Tuesday doesn’t have to be decision day. 

Florist shop owner Brittany Singh said trying to decide on a mask policy starting Tuesday is relatively easy, she wants customers and employees of Plant Lush to wear masks -- period. 

But personally she’s more mixed but says no way will she lose her mask altogether. 

It's become a well-ingrained habit to wear that mask and while some people are planning to celebrate Tuesday's reopening by ditching their collection -- not everyone is ready to jump in. Jean Elle reports.

“I’m excited for more things to open and to be able to take the mask off,” she said. “When I’m outdoors. I’ll still wear it inside for sure though.”

That sounds reasonable to Dr. Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University and a working psychologist in Menlo Park. 

He says an all-or-nothing attitude can be difficult for people even with a looming reopening date. 

“People don’t necessarily follow logical reasoning of rules and things like that,” said Plante. “They tend to have a more emotional and psychological response to these things.”

The CDC says fully vaccinated people can ditch the face coverings. However, the California mask mandate won't change until the state officially reopens on June 15, 2021. We show you when you'll need to mask up in the Bay Area and California until then. If you're fully vaccinated, check out how the mask guidelines change for you after California reopens on June 15.

Dr. Plante also points out there are many mental factors in play around the idea of wearing a mask or not. 

“That can be hard to do given the high level of stress we’re all going through with the pandemic, with the racism challenges, with the divisive politics and everything else that is going on,” he said, adding it’s also difficult to deal with a reopening date when the pandemic is still here. 

“It’s certainly, during in the next week or two, seeing how this all goes is going to kind of determine people’s comfort level in going out and about,” said Plante.

Certainly a steep drop or a spike in COVID cases will have a very quick and significant impact on whatever people decide to do Tuesday.

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