Masks Should Not Be Required for the Vaccinated

Steven Moore, Assistant Editor

In King County, masks are required in every indoor environment, along with any venue outdoors with a capacity of 500 people or more. With the COVID-19 Delta variant going around, this may seem like the safest route in ensuring the protection of everyone’s health. However, if you received the previously distributed vaccines, there is a one in 10,000 chance that you will contract the Delta variant, according to the USA Health Department. In addition to the slim chances of getting the virus, teenagers are less susceptible to die and/or become very sick from COVID-19. This being said, I believe that it is only fair that masks should become a choice in every environment. The vaccine is protecting you almost completely, with little to no possibility of contracting the new variant.

Even now, you will see people at professional sporting events required to wear masks, even though you are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entering the stadium. If you are with your family, or even friends at a game, a mask should not be necessary to wear if you feel comfortable enough in the environment you are in. Let’s say your family decides to go to the next Seahawks home game against Jacksonville in two weeks. You are taking up roughly three to five seats, with space in between you and the next people over. Masks will not do much in this case to prevent you from spreading or getting COVID-19. This is because you are beyond the six feet of space that allows you to stay out of contact with strangers. Even if there was any chance, people should be given the option of whether they want to wear them or not, especially when outside. This is solely due to respiratory molecules not being able to travel the same in an outdoor environment as they would indoors. This creates a safer environment when you are outside.

Furthermore, when going to a place such as the store or a mall, the number of people that you will be within six feet of is very low. This is significant because you will have your own personal space in these places, preventing other people from possibly transmitting the virus. The number of people that you will be coming into physical contact with is even lower. The purpose of a mask is to create a simple barrier that cuts off respiratory droplets from reaching others. So why would a mask be necessary in a place such as the mall? Additionally, the majority of companies have put up plexiglass or other materials to separate the customer and the cashier, providing enough of a barrier between the two people as is.

Masks have started to become a political thing more so than a health thing. For me, it is not political but more of a personal realization. I am 17 years old, and I am double vaccinated. I already have had COVID-19, which makes me even less likely to get it again. I know there are more people like me who do not see masks as a necessity in all cases. Places such as school and work make sense to me, considering the number of people in the same building as you. However, the store, the mall, sporting events (especially professional), and many other places should not require everyone in attendance to wear masks. It should be the people’s choice whether they feel comfortable or not, not the county.