Mask Mania Suffocates The West Coast

Mask Mania Suffocates The West Coast

A friend and I were barred from a small retail store in downtown Seattle on Sunday. Our crime? We didn’t have face masks. We’ve both been fully vaccinated for months, and there’s no more mask mandate in the city.

While traveling up and down the Pacific Northwest for a week, it became clear masks are set to become a permanent fixture of post-pandemic life, where even in the presence of free and effective vaccines for the very virus they’ve been implemented to mitigate, public compliance with non-existent orders remains high in liberal enclaves of the country. In eastern Oregon, where communities are so starkly different than the left-wing power centers that govern them they’ve launched a movement to join Idaho, face masks have already become a distant relic of the pandemic past.

In contrast, people wearing face masks were everywhere in Portland and Seattle despite no government mandates. They were even worn by people outside, where the risk of infection is nearly zero. Walk into a supermarket, and nearly everyone had a mask on.

In Portland, where the mask mandate was lifted at the end of June, I began to ask people outside why they were still wearing masks, which have quickly become a performative virtue signal akin to gender pronoun bios. Given the area’s high vaccination rate, there was a good chance passers-by were vaccinated.

“I don’t trust other people,” one woman said at a street corner.

“Are you vaccinated?” I pressed.

“Yes.”

Before I could ask if she trusted the vaccine, she walked away.

Another woman who was wearing a blue surgical mask outside was more candid about the device as a matter of convenience.

“Because my face is messed up,” she said, and left it at that. She blended right in.

In Seattle, some mask-wearers still refused to share elevators with those outside their party. They kept their distance from others as they waited for the next ride. Sometimes, even young children had masks, despite COVID’s low risk to children — it is even less deadly to children than the seasonal flu.

While Seattle and Portland remain free of mask mandates, Los Angeles has already re-implemented indoor mask requirements regardless of people’s vaccination status. The new order, threatening to inaugurate a forever pandemic, flies in contradiction with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, even though the agency has already been far too stringent with their guidelines over the course of the pandemic.

When governors began to end mask mandates, the reaction from leftists who became attached to their symbols of public virtue despite debatable effectiveness in the first place was as if the government had banned people from wearing them.

When the CDC finally began to relax recommendations for vaccinated individuals, leftists still bragged about wearing them, including MSNBC’s Joy Reid in primetime.

While jogging, she said, she continued to wear two, depriving her brain of oxygen as she did cardio while fully vaccinated.

Along the west coast, masks aren’t going anywhere. Whether mandates will come back remains unclear, but if Los Angeles is a preview in the state that first introduced the lockdowns last year, the population that demands life with absolute zero risk is poised to re-impose their way of life onto the rest of the country with devastating consequences.

At the end of the day, it’s not just a mask on the horizon. It’s not just two masks. It’s not just two weeks. It’s a lockdown, and it’s about to go on forever.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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