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The object that I have uploaded reflects several aspects regarding the pandemic as it presents an implication as to the spread of Covid-19 throughout the United States, methods regarding the prevention of the transmission of Covid-19, as well as the efforts of companies, in this case Dollar General, to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. On its own, as the mask of a Dollar General Employee from Sevierville, Tennessee, the object brings with it the implication that, in the event that evidence for Covid-19’s spread within East Tennessee is lost, there was at least a concern within the Dollar General corporation regarding the spread of Covid-19 into the East Tennessee area. The object, as a photograph of a mask, also provides information about the ideas circulating at this time to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, such as the donning of a mask to cover the mouth and nose. The object also informs regarding the efforts of retail corporations, in this instance Dollar General, to curb the spread of the pandemic through their establishments and across the nation, such as providing official masks for their employees to utilize.
The uploaded object is important to me because it is a reminder of the various reactions, primarily from customers, to the spread of the pandemic within a retail-based environment. Among these reactions has been the bulk purchasing of certain products once they are restocked, specifically Lysol and alcohol but toilet paper and hand sanitizer were also frequently bought in the early months of the pandemic, as well as the influx of various hand sanitizer and face mask based products to be purchased. Aside from what items are frequently purchased, the customers of the store also react frequently to the implementation of face masks within the store as many comment on their lack of comfort while a minority speak positively about their benefit in preventing the spread of Covid-19, though the majority of customers make no comment at all regarding face masks.

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The object is a photograph of a Dollar General employee face mask. Masks like this, as well as disposable surgical masks, were given to me and other employees of the store to wear during our interactions with customers and each other.

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This item was submitted on October 8, 2020 by Alexander Tipton using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”: https://covid-19archive.org/s/archive

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