Don’t ditch your mast just yet
by Ed Wendell
May 27, 2020 | 1703 views | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A sign from a customer thanking the employees and workers at the C-Town at 75th Street and Jamaica Avenue.
A sign from a customer thanking the employees and workers at the C-Town at 75th Street and Jamaica Avenue.
I recall the first time I saw someone I know wearing a mask. This was right at the beginning, before most people had even heard of the coronavirus or COVID-19. He was ahead of the curve, and as he walked through Stop & Shop his mask drew a few curious glances.

It was a few weeks later that I was in Home Depot and I noticed that more people were wearing masks than not wearing them. That was a tipping point, and within a week or so everyone was wearing them.

Feels like 100 years ago, doesn’t it?

People are itching to get back to normal, to go back to work, to resume their lives. And now the trend appears to be reversing a bit.

More and more people are taking off their masks. I’m seeing more and more bare faces walking past me on the streets of Woodhaven.

Most stores still have a “No Mask, No Entry” policy, but this past weekend was the first time I was in a store where many, if not more, people were without masks.

When people talk about how things are going to be very different after this is all over, what they really mean is how we are all going to be very different.

How long before you feel comfortable going to a movie theater again or taking a flight? Or any activity where a group of people will be gathering?

Did you see that viral video of the people screaming at and chasing a customer without a mask from a store? You can expect to see more of those videos as people defy the conventions and go maskless.

People are scared, and for good reason.

This really serves to underscore the bravery people exhibited by just showing up for their jobs every day at supermarkets, corner delis, bodegas, restaurants and any other business that stayed open and kept us well fed and comfortable.

These are Woodhaven’s heroes.

This past weekend, Jamaica Avenue was hopping as more businesses reopened and more people came out to shop. But it wasn’t always that way, remember?

There was a time just a few weeks ago when the majority of stores and businesses were shuttered. But our supermarkets – the two C-Towns at either end of the neighborhood, Pioneer on 91st Street, Fine Fair on 90th Street and Compare on 78th Street – never shut their doors.

We were never forced to leave the neighborhood to get what we needed. Sure, in the beginning there were shortages, toilet paper most notably.

But our local supermarkets were kept well-stocked and the food fresh, and that has greatly benefited the residents of our community, particularly seniors who don’t drive.

And day after day after day, the employees kept showing up for work, interacting closely with the public and handling money. The least we can do in return for everything they’ve done for us is to wear a mask when going into their stores.

If not for your own safety, do it for the protection of these people, our essential workers, who have to wear their masks throughout an entire shift.

You’re being asked to wear yours while interacting with them. Do it out of the respect they deserve. They’ve earned it.
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