Covid: Wearing a face mask after the restrictions are lifted shouldn't make you an outcast – Susan Morrison

Many years ago, before the Wall came down, my friend went to a conference in East Berlin.

Some people may wish to continue to wear Covid face masks after the end of the restrictions (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Some people may wish to continue to wear Covid face masks after the end of the restrictions (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

It was eerie, she said. West Berlin was like a party going on, but only half a mile away, the same city was quiet, drab and dreary. Returning to the noisy, booming West was a real shock.

Last Friday I got off a train in Newcastle and felt distinctly East German. Under the guidance of Boris Johnson, that expert in public health, England has hurled masks and caution to the wind.

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The station was rammed to the gunnels. The weekend invasion of hen and stag do’s was in full swing. The shock of seeing people’s faces was extraordinary.

There are those who intone gravely that “things will never return to pre-pandemic days. People will be cautious, fearful.”

Mate, come with me to Newcastle. The Roaring Twenties have been updated for a new century. In fact, people were downing booze like Prohibition is a possibility.

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There were a few people still masked up. As I walked to the hotel, a man wearing a mask staggered out of a pub in front of me, carefully removed his mask, threw up into the gutter, wiped his face, then put it back on. Stay classy, Newcastle.

With surgery coming up, I thought it best to wear my mask. Actually, it's become a bit of a habit and I feel odd in shops without it. As far as I can tell, me wearing a mask doesn’t really impact other people. In fact, there are those who say that me covering my face is not a bad thing at all.

It was my decision, and I thought I had good grounds for it. Perhaps I should have got a mask printed with “Surgery Coming Up. Wearing Mask”. It might have stopped the faint air of hostility wafting my way. There were muttered comments and side glances. I’m a big girl. I ignored them.

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Here in Scotland, Covid restrictions will vanish on March 21. Here’s hoping we’re more tolerant of those who have to, or just want to, stay masked up.

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