With the recent influx of COVID-19 vaccinations, many residents are confused and concerned about the Olmsted County mask mandate that has been in effect since July 8, 2020. I personally work with adults who have disabilities and live in group homes or adult foster care systems. These adults have been vaccinated but are still unable to go out into the community. Many of them are very poor about wearing a mask in public, such as when we host special outings like bowling or movies.

COVID-19 has been a big issue for more than a year. These adults have had to be completely isolated from family, friends and outings due to their home regulations and their inability to consistently wear a mask. Recently, the Department of Human Services had begun to allow these adults to have visitors at home as well as go to a few community events and programs.

Coming out of COVID-19 and mask mandates is going to be hard for many as companies can still have mask and vaccine requirements for staff and those coming in as they see fit. Mask requirements are hard to decide on, as mask wearing has become political. As mandates soften, we need to continue to support each other as a community, including our personal thoughts and feelings on masks, without getting upset at those who disagree with our opinions.

Lydia Bacon, Rochester

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