Sign in the door of a Wawa about mask policy
Sign in the door of a Wawa about mask policy (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

For the most part the mask mandate has been lifted in New Jersey but that has not ended the “mask confusion” that exists in the state.  This past weekend was the first in which we were not required to wear a mask indoors in most public places including retail stores, restaurants, gyms, shopping malls, food stores, casinos, movie theatres, etc.  The outdoor ban had been lifted previously but it is the indoor one that remains a head scratcher.

I was in enough places to know that not everyone is on the same page.  Many have kept signs requiring masks on the door but when you walk in you see customers divided with some wearing them and others are not.  It seems a good amount of workers are still masking up and I asked a couple if they were doing so out of habit or because they had to.  Some were doing it on their own, others were told they had to wear them and a few were still waiting for direction.

Remember while businesses are no longer being forced legally to require that masks be worn they can chose to do so for both customers and employees.  Again it appears some are not really sure what to do so they are leaving things as they are for now.  Quite a few stores seem to be operating with an abundance of caution and requiring masks and my guess is they will wait a bit to see if it impacts them in a negative way as I have heard some people say they will not shop at a place that requires masks.  Meanwhile other stores are reminding customers that if you have not been vaccinated you are encouraged to wear one.

The other part of all of this is you can expect to hear stories of “mask shaming” in which those that don’t wear them get dirty looks and maybe comments from those that do and vice versa.  My take is simple.  If you are fully vaccinated the CDC and New Jersey say you don’t have to wear a mask in public with of course a few exceptions.  I’m not wearing one and frankly don’t care what you do.  I’ll respect your choice and you respect mine.

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