Mask shaming is a thing and it is not OK


As we hear every day, we are living in unprecedented times.

We are living through a once-in-a-century health emergency. A global pandemic. And from the World Health Organisation down to the man on the street, we're all feeling it a little as we go.

I'm blessed to live in a part of Australia that has very low COVID-19 infection rates.

But despite this, I'm still very careful with social distancing and want to do all I can to help protect myself, my loved ones and my community.

My partner and I ventured out to Brisbane last weekend and decided that we'd wear face masks. The population is greater, more chance of community transmission . . . and we just wanted to do the right thing, although it did feel a bit like overkill.

Within five minutes of walking through the city I had been mask shamed.

A man had stopped at some traffic lights, saw me, wound his window down and did some exaggerating coughing in my direction, then drove off.

I was stunned.

That someone could be so insensitive to what is going on in the world seemed crazy to me. That someone would go out of their way to make another feel so uncomfortable in such volatile times was something I was genuinely not expecting.

And the jury is split on mask wearing.

Except for Victoria and some NSW hotspots, there's no real guidance in Australia on whether a mask is going to do any good or not.

But what it does show is that people are keen to keep themselves and their communities safe.

Wearing a mask in the Brisbane CBD, I noticed that people gave us a wide berth once they'd clocked our face gear, and socially distanced perfectly. And we certainly got a few funny looks.

I was also heartened to see dozens of others in the city taking the same precaution.

And a precaution is all it is.

Because we don't know how long the world is going to be in the grip of COVID-19. And we don't know where the virus is lurking.

But I do know that as a fiancé, aunt, sister and friend, I have a responsibility to the world to take this issue seriously until we're out of danger.