One of the biggest things introduced to our way of life in this decade has been masks. At some point, most of us probably have had a drawer or car consul filled with masks, but when is it time to toss the mask?

For the past two years, facial masks had generated controversy across the country, particularly when the requirement started to be lifted. The lifting of the mask mandate may have seemed long overdue to some, while others may still believe that masks should still be worn in public. Unfortunately, since this pandemic has spread in waves, it is hard to predict when the next variant will emerge, how quickly it will spread, or what effects it will have.

To control the spread of COVID-19, we have been exposed to at-home testing, vaccinations, and COVID capsules over the last year. However, with new strains of this variation fast spreading this summer, many people feel compelled to revert to old mandates.

According to a new study by Aeris, 62% of people still wear masks in public indoor spaces. Only 33% of those not vaccinated will wear a mask indoors, compared to 75% of those who have received the vaccination and booster. The vaccines were strongly advised but not mandatory for anyone to get. However, if indoor public areas established the requirement for a vaccine, 67% of respondents would be in favor of it. However, 87% of those who have never had a vaccination disagree with this.

Some people may prefer to have mask mandates in certain places over others. Most people surveyed agreed that people should wear masks in a hospital setting or on public transportation. COVID or not, those places are filled with different viruses and bacteria that you could become susceptible to. Most respondents believe that masks should remain mandatory in schools, whereas less than half of those polled believe that masks are not required at gyms, restaurants, bars, event venues, or work. Only 13% feel that masks should be required outside.

Whether you wear a mask for your own protection or the protection of others, such as the elderly, relatives, or children, it is critical to respect others’ concerns and maintain a healthy distance. Simply wash your hands and keep a mask on hand in case these regulations are reinstated.