COVID-19: Different Masks for Different Situations

Oakland Voices asked our correspondents about their experiences since being forced to wear face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A young man wearing a mask and sunglasses with long curly hair.
Ryan Barba.

Wearing a mask has affected my life for both better and worse. Being a very private person, I find it quite refreshing to be able to walk out in public and have most people not recognize me. I prefer that my actions be anonymous and wearing a mask has granted me that desire to some extent. Different situations dictate the type of mask that I wear.

My list of outdoor essential actions narrows down to exercise, shopping, and going to and from work. I wear a mask made out of fabric when exercising; a charcoal filtered mask when shopping; and both an N95 mask and waterproof mask when working. Having these extra layers of protection, I believe is an added benefit in preventing the contraction of COVID-19. 

An image of several face masks laid out next to each other.
Different kinds of masks for different settings. Photo by Ryan Barba.

What I’ve noticed the most about wearing a mask is that there are both supporters and opposers. Working at a privately owned authorized shipping center, it has become a common occurrence to have patrons enter the premises reluctant to abide wearing a mask. There’s always a reason as to why they don’t have one or why they don’t want to wear one; but regardless, there is the understanding amongst customers that they should be abiding with this Alameda County ordinance.

“Working at a privately owned authorized shipping center, it has become a common occurrence to have patrons enter the premises reluctant to abide wearing a mask.”

Ryan Barba

Given that the charcoal filtered mask that I wear can be seen as one straight out of a horror film, I often get compliments on how “cool” it looks and that it resembles the ones worn by fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter, and famous Batman villain, Bane. Although we’re supposed to be having as little socializing as possible, I find the comments to be quite interesting and welcome them. This appears to be the normal for now, but I often wonder for how much longer.

Watching the news from a distance on television and social media, it’s quite frustrating to see how people disregard both social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. I believe that media outlets reporting these actions unintentionally promote reckless behavior instead of their intended awareness. Nevertheless, it’s been a challenging but necessary action to be wearing these masks the past few months. This current way of living is a point in history that I hope to only experience once. 

“Nevertheless, it’s been a challenging but necessary action to be wearing these masks the past few months. This current way of living is a point in history that I hope to only experience once.”

Ryan Barba

About Ryan Barba

Ryan Barba is an Oakland native who is following his passion of writing. It has lead to his desire to further his knowledge and insight in this profession by learning and sharing with others. Ryan attended primary and secondary schools in Oakland and has ties to various community outreach programs throughout the East Bay. Having spent his life in Oakland, he looks forward to using this opportunity as a platform to tell stories that are occurring in his wonderful community. View all posts by Ryan Barba →

One Comment

  1. Sterling Aronson

    It can for sure be annoying and uncomfortable having to wear a mask everywhere we go now with the current situation. However, this does still describe perfectly how everyone feels right now. It is very sad that this is the current reality but hopefully this will for sure be the only point in history we have to experience life like this.

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