Dear Editor:

I have been thinking a lot about the refusal to wear masks during this pandemic. Yes, people have a right to not wear a mask, but I also have a right to feel safe about breathing the air around me.

I equate this with second-hand smoke . There was a time when smokers were allowed to smoke everywhere. Those of us who chose not to smoke had to be exposed to the second-hand smoke. As time went on, the dangers of second-hand smoke became apparent.

First we had smoking sections evolve. I used to laugh when I came into a restaurant that was one big room and was asked which section I wanted to sit in, as if it mattered since it was one big space and I could smell the smoke from across the room. I recently came out of a building and could smell cigarette smoke. The smoker was across and down the street and I could still smell the smoke from his cigarette.

Thank goodness we have finally gotten to the point where smoking isn’t allowed in restaurants and most public places. So what is my point? If a person is breathing in and out, then they are spreading whatever they may be carrying in the way of viruses. We are in the midst of a serious pandemic.

I have the right to feel safe and breathe without being exposed to a dangerous virus. I’ve been wearing a mask since the beginning of the pandemic not only to protect myself, but to protect others. My 95-year-old vaccinated mother was recently exposed to COVID-19 through a caregiver’s 9-year-old daughter. That caregiver was vaccinated and not only tested positive for COVID, but became ill along with her three children. Fortunately my mom didn’t experience any symptoms. My mom’s 92-year-old friend had to be tested and was positive, with no symptoms, but had to quarantine since she tested positive.

I liken this to the folks who refuse to get their animals spayed and neutered. Before you know it that one cat or dog that wasn’t spayed/neutered has spawned dozens of more cats and dogs. I just wish we would realize that we are all in this together and I’m pretty sure we want to be able to get back to some sense of normalcy. Please do the right thing, wear a mask.

Wendy Guillaume

Disco Loop Road

Friendsville

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