2020 Grocery Store Fashion

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2020 Grocery Store Fashion

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“This morning’s grocery store fashion,” I wrote on April 10, 2020 when I posted this photo to Instagram. I tagged #socialdistancing #maskedcrusader and #newyorktough. This was the first time I wore a mask when I left the house and it was one of only a few times I’d gone farther than my backyard or front stoop since lockdown began the month prior. I had been listening to public health officials who advised wearing “face coverings” to help “flatten the curve” (reduce the number of new infections to prevent overcrowding in hospitals). I also followed their advice to opt for cloth and save the real masks for health care workers on the “front lines” of the pandemic who were facing a shortage of “PPE - personal protective equipment.” So many new words and phrases had entered the lexicon and I was struggling to keep up. Masking felt like a way I could protect myself and family and contribute to the effort to squash Covid-19. I found a video tutorial for how to make a “no sew” mask using a bandana folded over hair ties for ear loops. I added a coffee filter in the middle of the folds for good measure. I used this type of mask into the summer of 2020 when I realized masks weren’t going away anytime soon and started wearing more fitted cloth versions. I remember masking felt strange and changed the way I interacted with people I passed who couldn’t see my customary polite smile of acknowledgment. I started nodding slightly and learned to squint my eyes to indicate a smile when I passed people to make up for this impediment. Masking made it difficult to be heard and understood especially through other precautionary barriers like plexiglass shields at checkout counters. These days when I encounter people I first met when masking was more widespread, I sometimes don’t recognize them because I’ve never seen the bottom half of their face. It’s a bizarre set of circumstances. Now I usually only mask if I have respiratory symptoms or if I am around someone particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. When I do mask, I choose an N-95 respirator which is readily available and more effective than my cloth mask and coffee filter creation of April 2020.

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This item was submitted on February 27, 2023 by Gabriella Leone using the form “Share Your Lockdown Staten Island Story” on the site “Lockdown Staten Island”:

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