When it comes to weddings, we’ve come a HELL of a long way since March and April. Less than six months ago, we were crossing out every special occasion in our planners for the foreseeable future, hunkering down at home, and limiting the extent of our socialization to comments in passing with our roommates, but the wedding world has come alive as of late. Thanks to slightly loosening state restrictions and the rise of scaled-back celebrations like elopements, microweddings, and minimonies, couples are getting their “I Dos” done and happily moving on with their lives. At present, love is not canceled, but that can all change if soon-to-be-weds start going rogue and cases start spiking.
Earlier this month AP unmasked a disturbing reality about COVID weddings, writing, “No-mask weddings, no social distancing and dance floors prohibited in many states have been the talk of online groups for vendors around the country.” And when we consider that these vendors are pretty much living on Purell and a prayer as they return to the soirees that used to fill their calendars and pay their bills, it hits as especially inconsiderate. We get it, couples want their weddings to be as close to their pre-pandemic dreams as possible, but the fact of the matter is the risk of a wedding-related outbreak should necessitate some simple precautions like mask-wearing, maintaining six feet distance, ditching the dance floor, etc. While we get that you probably never pictured getting married surrounded by a sea of masked faces when you were seven years old planning your wedding, you probably didn’t plan for a global pandemic either.
In an effort to curb all the potential bride Karening before it becomes a thing, we chatted with a number of wedding professionals (including a photographer who was a corona bride herself) on the subject of mask-wearing and common sense safety during these (say it with us) unprecedented times. It’s the year 2020, folks, and the official wedding mood involves a mask, so here’s how you can embrace the novelty of these nuptials and have a great day.
Set Up Expectations
Whether you’re eloping, having a microwedding, or exchanging vows with a minimony, the best way to make everyone comfortable is to be transparent about expectations. This can be done easily through a “what to expect” insert included in your invitations. Betches co-founder and coronabride Sami sent something to her own wedding guests to give them a heads up on the ground rules for her upcoming wedding, including the steps she and her fiancé would be taking to keep everyone healthy and happy.
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ok so the #1 question we’ve gotten from microwedding brides lately is “how do I invite my guests while letting them know we need to be extra safe?” (2020 is so weird). so we’re giving you a sneak peek at what @sami’s including in her microwedding invitations. DM us with your invites, custom masks, or any other social-distance-safe wedding touches and we’ll share on our story!
In addition to being transparent with your guests, you should be open and honest with your vendors, too, about what you’re envisioning for your wedding photos, overall experience, and flow of the day. Nicole DeTone, the face of Nicole DeTone Photography, says that now, more than ever, it’s critical to discuss expectations before the wedding day. She and her second shooter will always wear masks and remain six feet away, but if her couple wants to omit face coverings for their (keyword: their) portrait sessions of the day, she’s okay with it—there just needs to be a plan in place to ensure safety for everyone.
“If my couples prefer no masks for group photos, I recommend going over the plan with their wedding party and family members beforehand to make sure they’re comfortable taking photos without masks,” she explains. “It goes both ways, too: I’ve had some awkward situations where family members were asked by the couple to either not be in the photo or, reluctantly, have them join without their masks.”
For DeTone, it’s imperative that brides and grooms discuss the dynamics with their photographer and planner, so that everyone is in the know about any people who are uncomfortable wearing masks or, conversely, who feel good about getting together for a group shot. That way, it’s much easier to plan certain poses, the number of people in a photo, and the location of portraits. Working together to plan out these “photo pods” can be a major relief.
Gift The Goods
We won’t lie, in the earlier part of this pandemic, we were quick to shake our heads at the mere suggestion of wedding or bridal masks. In our defense, at the time, having ANY kind of wedding was a bad, bad call and there was a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the people who needed it the most, our health care workers on the frontlines. So, yeah, we weren’t exactly pro-bedazzled facewear, especially when the costs were kind of hard to justify. Now, though, things have changed, and it’s hard to imagine a wedding without any sort of masks in sight.
Shameless plug, I ordered a pair of Plum Pretty Sugar’s face masks earlier in the pandemic, and they are so comfortable and so pretty. They also just came out with a white embroidered mask for brides. And they’re just $30 ($20 for two, for the bridesmaids), which is definitely a lot easier on the wallet than the hundred-dollar bedazzled ones out there.
Now that things are much better on the shortage front (we seriously have so many cool masks to buy from both big and small businesses), and weddings are cautiously ramping up, we’re all for mask wearing at the main event. Our take: If you have to wear a mask on your best day ever, then it might as well be pretty. Claire Pettibone, the LA couturier responsible for some of the most stunning gowns on the planet, first felt a little conflicted about making something beautiful for this ugly virus. But her dissonance was quickly resolved when she realized that she could contribute to the cause, donating a mask for each one sold, and make brides feel comfortable on the day they need to most.
“Brides have been ordering our masks for themselves, and even more, for their wedding party and guests. We’ve also had a lot of people purchasing them as gifts,” she reports. “Most brides planning a wedding right now have very limited guest lists, and depending on where they live the regulations may be different, but of course, keeping family and friends safe is a top priority, so outfitting their guests with attractive masks is something to consider.”
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Our Slate fabric (bottom of these 3), sold out in less than a week! Sets will now be your choice: all Taupe, all Ivory, or a combination of the two. For every mask sold, we are donating one to healthcare and front line workers. Your purchase enables our Los Angeles based team to keep working while helping our community. Thank you for supporting our small business!💕 #clairepettibone #lovemask #facemask #bridalstyle #handmade #fineartwedding #fineartbride #smallbusiness #smallbusinesslove #localbusiness #smallbusinessowner
Claire says that most of her brides are choosing her classic solid ivory with lace butterflies option to wear themselves, but looking at her printed floral patterns for their guests. And since adding new child sizes for the flower girls and ring bearers to rock, she’s gearing up to go all in for the entire group—grooms included.
“We recently added a child size, and had a wedding where we outfitted all of the kids with custom plain ivory masks for the boys and butterflies for the girls, while the adult guests wore a variety of the prints,” describes Pettibone. “We’ve just had some requests for men’s, so that’s something we have in the works. Our masks are really well-made and comfortable, plus the adjustable silk ties have a more formal look, so they do work well for weddings.”
If You Mask Them, They Will Come…
All it takes to have uniform classy photos is consistency in the masks your MVPs are wearing. Jennifer Larsen, lead photographer at her namesake, Jennifer Larsen Photography, put her camera down for the day to have her own minimony last month, and she couldn’t be happier with the way she made masks work. In her opinion, there’s nothing wrong with leaning into the COVID circumstances. Just because masks are necessary for safety reasons, doesn’t mean they have to be ugly!
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“We provided our guests with white masks that read ‘Quarantined for Life: Jen and Ryan are Married!’ in rose gold foil,” she recalls. “We wanted to make the masks less of a burden and more like a party favor that would bring a little joy and commemorate this season. I love the way they came out, and so did our guests!” Perhaps because Larsen is a photographer herself, she had total confidence in her own photographer to document the day like she wanted; nevertheless, being able to trust in her photographer was such a key to her staying calm.
Lean On Your Photographers
We promise, a few masked moments aren’t going to read as a documentary of the pandemic, but if you’re truly concerned that your photos and video will be plagued by the state of affairs more than they already are, then opt for your couple portraits and those with close family to be done sans masks—in wide, open-air spaces. For Larsen, being flexible and inventive can be what turns a COVID-curated group shot into an avant-garde, glossy mag kind of vision.
“For situations where you’d like to take a group photo, but still keep distance, I think getting creative with your setup makes the photo feel a lot less awkward. Group people together by couples/households, and space them out in clusters to create balance on either side of the bride and groom,” she says. “You can incorporate some chairs, to improvise a dynamic sitting and standing, staggered look, and it will feel like an intentional, creative choice rather than an awkward restriction. You can even try mixing in some fun cheering or stoic expressions to change it up from a typical ‘just smile at the camera’ shot to a more spacious Vanity Fair-esque portrait!”
You’re The F*cking Bride, But You’re Not Above The Rules
As Alexis Alvaraz, a wedding planner from Chicago, tells AP, “There’s just so much emotional baggage that has come with weddings this year that the idea of masks at their weddings is the last straw… but there is danger in that.” That’s especially true if people aren’t following state mandates and CDC codes of conduct. That’s why vendors, especially wedding planners and caterers, are doing even more to help couples navigate the nuances of wedding safety. Dance floor be damned, there’s a way to do it.
Emily DeLoach, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sincerely Yours Events in Savannah, GA, has seen DJs and bands doing really cool things to make sure the guests have a good time, but safely. “I’ve worked with DJs and bands who have made QR codes that guests can scan at the event to submit song and announcement requests without having to have contact with their booth,” relays DeLoach. “This has been effective and fun, really engaging the crowd, curating perfect dance floor vibes, and getting loving announcements made to help bring the whole crew together!”
An outdoor silent disco? We’re down.
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This couple had a socially-distant silent disco at their microwedding as a fun alternative to regular dancing. Congrats Laura and Will! 🥂 “Obviously a reimagined ceremony during Coronavirus! But we were able to pull off a mini wedding with 40 family & friends in Will’s parents backyard on Cape Cod! I converted to Judaism during our engagement and Will and his two brother’s built the chuppah in the days leading up to the wedding. It was an epic evening with heartfelt speeches that ended with a silent disco with two channels – one of wedding classics and another live DJ’d by a friend with our favorite EDM mixes.” @theshensation 📷: @nicoleellengowan
And when it comes to food and drink, very easy ways to cross contaminate, caterers like Main Course Catering + Marketplace in New Paltz, NY, are adopting new ways to wow their couples. During the planning process, the Captain of Catering, Hogan Popkess, says that he and his team have conversations with clients about some of the options they have for events, including glass dome coverings on passed hors d’oeuvres trays, exclusively-served plates instead of displayed or family-style options. When it comes to masks, MCC’s staff is coming dressed in in-house made masks that match the ties they wear with the uniforms, plus black disposable gloves, so they look sleek while still being safe—if you care about that sort of thing.
Popkess also says of masks, “Some of our clients prefer everyone to have masks on the entire event unless of course they are seated and eating. Others have been comfortable without masks for the duration of the event. Our staff wears them the entire event as well as gloves to ensure our own safety and also make everyone feel comfortable.” He acknowledges, “The tables are turned when you enter a client’s home and you are a stranger. We have to keep our staff safe while also respecting the safety of the client and their guests.”
Following The Rules Can Be A Legit Piece Of Cake
Jen Larsen and her handsome hubby made sure that their wedding cake could be done safely for their July “I Dos.”
“We served cake after the ceremony, and that boiled down to little things like having hand sanitizer readily available for our guests, having a dedicated server to carefully cut and plate each slice, and pre-rolling individual sets of disposable utensils, etc.” she remembers. “I tried to think through any areas that would make guests feel uncomfortable or would be a high germ-spreading point of contact.”
The bottom line is that planning a wedding safely requires more thought and planning than before (as if planning a wedding wasn’t hard enough). But it can be done, and the extra effort of keeping yourself, your loved ones, and your vendors safe is well worth it.
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If your Facebook timeline looks anything like mine, you’ve spent the past few months scrolling past pictures of your friends’ houses, a lot of politics, and that one freaking person who will not stop posting misinformation and conspiracies about masks. Whether this person is screaming into the void that masks are yet another tool for government control (if only we would just OPEN OUR EYES), or this well-meaning but ill-informed friend is trying to convince you that masks themselves are a danger to your health, there is no shortage of misinformation out there.
As frustrating as it is to see post after post about the horrors of masks, it isn’t entirely surprising. According to a paper by psychology professor Monika Grzesiak-Feldman, increased fear and anxiety make it more likely for a person to believe conspiracy theories and misinformation. When you feel threatened, you often feel out of control—belief in conspiracies, regardless of how baseless the theories are, gives you the (misguided) sense of control that you’re so desperately seeking. A need for control over your surroundings combined with a deep need to make sense of the world around you can lead to misinformation spreading like wildfire, simply because people are fiending for answers.
Imagine you’re standing up against a wall with nowhere to run, and a hundred little kids with water balloons show up and just start firing. That’s us, every single day, with the incredible amount of information (both accurate and inaccurate) being lobbed constantly in our general direction. We can’t avoid the information tornado that we exist within, but we can cope with it. How? Well, by doing the equivalent of wearing a raincoat during a water balloon attack. We have to protect ourselves. This isn’t easy, it involves treating every piece of information thrown your way like a telemarketer trying to sell you a problem-solving pill. Repeat after me: NOT EVERYTHING YOU READ IS TRUE. Ask yourself a few simple questions to figure out if whatever you’re reading is reliable. Who is writing this article, are they credible? Do they have some sort of expertise in this area of study? Why are they writing this article, what are their motives? And perhaps the most simple, yet inexplicably complicated question, does this even make logical sense (looking at you, “5G caused a pandemic people)?
One of the most prevalent subjects of conspiracy theories and misinformation in the past few months is none other than the ever-present face mask. Again, this whole situation is extremely stressful. Anxiety is high, and truthfully, we don’t know exactly what’s going on. I hear you, that’s scary. However, failing to use masks (or failing to use them effectively) is going to keep us in this situation for even longer. It’s ok if you’re glaring at me through your screen right now. Stick with me—I promise to act as your information poncho for the next several paragraphs, and we’re using trusted experts to debunk some of the most common mask myths.
Myth #1: Wearing A Mask Reduces Your Oxygen Levels
Before we get to the experts, please remember that medical professionals have been wearing masks for hours at a time long before the pandemic started. The very people responsible for understanding and helping us take care of our bodies are using masks every single day with no serious issues. I say “no serious issues” because there are absolutely non-serious issues. For example, masks are uncomfortable. They get sticky and humid and it really might feel like your mask is inhibiting your breathing. Spoiler, it’s not. In an interview with Animal Político, Dr. Daniel Pahua Díaz, an academic from the Department of Public Health at the National Autonomous University of Mexico medical school explained, “This misinformation may arise from the feeling of lack of air due to mechanical obstruction depending on the type of mouthpiece we are using. But the feeling of obstruction is because we are not used to using the mouth mask. But as such it will not cause us any kind of hypoxia.” Hypoxia, meaning lower levels of oxygen.
If you need more proof, a doctor in Ireland set out to disprove the myth himself. He put on not one, not two, but six face masks. His oxygen levels were unchanged. Assuming you’re not wearing seven face masks, or using a mask made of some sort of metal, wearing one for a few hours at a time isn’t going to impact your oxygen levels.
“Does wearing a face mask lower your oxygen levels” repeatedly by patients today!
Based on what they are reading on social media
*Face coverings / masks don’t reduce your oxygen levels!*
I managed to get six face masks on + it had no effect on my oxygen levels! pic.twitter.com/qNKYa8pejx
— Maitiu O Tuathail (@DrZeroCraic) July 14, 2020
Myth #2: Wearing A Mask Causes Carbon Dioxide To Build Up In Your Body
I, for one, have seen more than my share of posts claiming that wearing a mask can cause you to drop dead of carbon monoxide toxicity. As with the oxygen myth, it’s important to remember that MASKS WERE CREATED TO ALLOW US TO BREATHE THROUGH THEM (I’m not screaming, you’re screaming). It is true that too much carbon dioxide can cause hypercapnia (a fancy word for having too much CO2 in your blood), but it’s really unlikely to occur from regular use of a mask. A CDC representative explained to Reuters, “The CO2 will slowly build up in the mask over time. However, the level of CO2 likely to build up in the mask is mostly tolerable to people exposed to it. You might get a headache but you most likely not suffer the symptoms observed at much higher levels of CO2.” A simple solution to even a small buildup of CO2 in your mask is to take it off (in a safe place, with clean hands) every once in a while.
Myth #3: If My Mask Is Covering My Mouth, I’m Safe
Ok, I’m taking some creative liberties here because I’m not sure that anyone consciously believes that a mask covering your mouth is effective. Here’s the thing, though, I have seen countless people in stores, in memes, all wearing masks with their noses still completely exposed. With all due respect, f*cking what? We know that this virus spreads through droplets, ones so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. These droplets leave our bodies when we talk, sing, or even breathe. If we inhale someone else’s droplets, through any hole (mouth or nose, relax), we invite potentially infected particles into our bodies. An article from the Cleveland Clinic explained, “A mask should cover your mouth and your nose. It should be snug but comfortable against the sides of your face, and you should be able to breathe without restriction. Choose one that secures with ties or ear loops. Don’t wear your mask around your neck or chin, or over your head—that doesn’t protect anyone.”
Myth #4: I Don’t Need To Wear A Mask Around Healthy People
A few of your friends want to have a little get-together. Just the four of you. I mean, you’ve been cooped up for so long—and it’s your birthday! You deserve a little treat, right? Just one day of pretending the world isn’t crumbling is exactly what you need to keep your sanity. I say this with all the love in the world: don’t trust your friends. Regardless of how careful your friends think they’re being, there is room for error. An almost imperceptible scratch of the nose after opening their contaminated car door, forgetting a mask once while walking their dog, there are so many ways to contract COVID that the safest bet is to assume that everyone (including yourself) is infected. Even more frightening than the ease with which the virus spreads is the fact that seemingly healthy people may not only be infected, but incredibly contagious.
Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases physician and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco clarified some things about asymptomatic transmission (the spread of COVID by people who aren’t even showing symptoms) for The Conversation. She explained, “Researchers have found that pre-symptomatic people shed the virus at an extremely high rate, similar to the seasonal flu. But people with the flu don’t normally shed virus until they have symptoms.” She continued, “When people cough or talk, they spray droplets of saliva and mucus into the air. Since SARS-CoV-2 sheds so heavily in the nose and mouth, these droplets are likely how people without symptoms are spreading the virus.”
Even if your friends seem completely healthy, there is just no way to know for sure, short of having everyone flash their negative COVID test results on their way inside. Symptoms can appear as long as two weeks after infection, or sometimes not at all. This means that people walking around looking perfectly healthy can be huge transmitters of the disease, since they’re under the assumption that they’re not even infected. Assume everyone you encounter is sick. End of story.
Myth #5: Cloth Masks Are Ineffective
According to the most recent research, scientists say that cloth masks are just fine for the general public. While they are not as effective as masks with filtration elements such as the N-95, they do an adequate job at blocking particles from entering or exiting to protect both the wearer and those around them. According to a recent study, cloth masks provided about half the protection of medical-grade masks. Practicing social distancing and staying away from large crowds will provide the wearer with even greater protection.
Infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD explained in a University of California San Francisco article, “The concept is risk reduction rather than absolute prevention. You don’t throw up your hands if you think a mask is not 100 percent effective. That’s silly.”
He continued, “Nobody’s taking a cholesterol medicine because they’re going to prevent a heart attack 100 percent of the time, but you’re reducing your risk substantially.”
Part of the reason there is so much mistrust and confusion about masks is because for a while, we were given conflicting information. The experts were trying to figure things out as quickly as possible in an urgent situation—this means that some of the information we may have received initially is no longer valid. (Like when experts were initially concerned wearing a mask would do more harm than good because it would cause people to touch their faces more.) Dr. Moshe Lewis, a San Francisco doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation explained to Healthline, “Science is complex, and when the public sees it unfold on a grand scale in front of their eyes, confusion ensues. Various recommendations were put forth and then retracted, leading to mixed messaging. From these embers, fear, facts, and fiction get spliced into controversy.”
The best plan? Stay up-to-date on research from trusted experts to get the most accurate information and, for the love of God, please stop getting your medical advice from Facebook memes.
Images: Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock; drzerocraic / Twitter
“I have some news,” my dad tells me on our morning call, “my mother died.”
I immediately stop pouring my coffee and take him off speakerphone.
My father goes on to tell me that she passed away earlier that morning in her London apartment and that he would send me the Zoom funeral information when he had it. I then ask my dad the question that I’m sure many of us have been asking a lot more these last few months, the question that can change a 10-minute chat into a 3-hour conversation, the most important question at this time: “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he says, “I’m fine.”
Back in November, my dad had to have his leg amputated. There are no words to describe the agonizing fear of waiting for the doctors to give you updates or trying to memorize every word and sound of your parent’s voice as they are being wheeled into surgery because, hey, it may be the last time you hear them say “I love you.” After three major operations, he has been recuperating and learning his new normal, including walking with a prosthetic. When COVID-19 hit the rehabilitation home where he is currently residing, they immediately followed protocol and shut down. I haven’t hugged my dad since my visit to the Bay Area over the holidays and now, when I visit from Los Angeles, I stand outside his window to see him. These last couple of visits, I’ve wondered, “when will I hug my dad again?” and when a parent loses a parent, it’s the harsh reminder that we don’t get to keep ours forever, either.
This pandemic hasn’t gotten under control because many believe that doing things such as wearing a mask when around others, staying home, and practicing social distancing will lead to the virus controlling their freedom. Thanks to social media, I’ve learned that some of these people aren’t just people on the internet—some were part of my inner circle.
When a friend asked me what I was doing for the 4th of July, I told them there were many reasons why I didn’t feel like being patriotic, but more importantly, I want to see my loved ones without the fear of getting them sick. When I asked this friend what their plans were, they told me they were driving from our state, California, to another high-case state. After reassuring me that they weren’t one of those people who don’t believe in masks, they stated that they were skeptical about the vaccine based on their own knowledge and research of epidemiology. They then stated the infamous line, “We can’t live in fear forever.” For the record, this person is not a doctor.
Now, I am all for questioning authority, but when things are uncertain and peoples’ lives are at risk, I am not one to put my opinion and assessment over facts and numbers. I did express to this friend that their decision saddened me, and although I do know they understood where I was coming from after almost losing a parent, I can’t be the only one whose friendships have changed or have ended during this unpredictable chapter.
I compare the decisions we make during this time to drinking and driving. Sometimes people get away with it, so they don’t think anything of it. But not getting caught doesn’t make it right. Also, what happens when you hit another car and hurt someone, let alone kill them? What if your decision hurts or kills the passengers in your car? Then your judgment, your decision, has severely impacted someone else—how can someone be okay with this?
I spent my July 4th by the pool alone, drinking piña coladas, FaceTiming friends and family, and of course, watching everyone’s Instagram stories. The IG stories I saw ranged from people secluded among small groups in other parts of the United States, to the politically slanted “If you don’t celebrate today, it defeats the purpose of this day” rants. I unfollowed and deleted and kept telling myself a quote a former colleague once told me: “Don’t you just love when the trash takes itself out?”
It’s incredible how a pandemic that has asked us to simply wear a mask when around others and to stay home has revealed who people truly are. My grandmother hid from the Nazis during World War II in Holland when she was eight years old. Having a gas mask was a luxury—it meant you had a chance at survival. She didn’t have an iPhone to FaceTime her parents that she was separated from. I mean, hell, she didn’t even have food—she lived off tulip bulbs. But sure, tell me more about how wearing a mask is infringing upon your life.
I am by no means an angel. I’ve received a speeding ticket, sent 3am text messages that deserve to be a meme, and, not to sound like a 45-year-old divorcée, I can be fun. I don’t take myself seriously, I’m the friend who keeps Twister and mini-beer pong on hand “just in case” and has a small reputation of being a bit of a wild child. I have managed to safely hang out with a couple of friends outside at a distance, and I will be the first to acknowledge that minimal human interaction is vital to everyone’s mental health. However, when you don’t choose to care about others’ health, others’ lives and your behavior is delaying many of us from being able to simply hug our loved ones again, amongst the many other long term effects it could have on others, then yeah…
You and I have nothing in common.
Images: Ranta Images / Shutterstock.com
It’s now been a few months since we supposedly started taking coronavirus seriously in the U.S., and honestly, things aren’t going great. While case numbers are down in certain areas, many states have seen spikes in the last couple weeks, and on Thursday, the number of new cases reported nationwide hit a record high. But even with hospitals inundated with new patients, and states pausing their reopening plans, some people refuse to take the pandemic seriously. Karens across the country have decided that instead of COVID-19, the real enemy here is the face mask. This week, we saw angry Floridians arguing against laws requiring masks, with one woman claiming that lawmakers demanding people wear masks “want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.”
But the anger about masks isn’t limited to Florida, and now the anti-mask folks everywhere are getting crafty. I was perusing Twitter this morning, when this tweet from Lance Bass popped up. It shows a laminated “FACE MASK EXEMPT CARD” that supposedly exempts the holder from “any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public.” The card declares that forcing this person to wear a mask is a violation of the “Americans with Disability Act”, and that penalties for violating the ADA can be as high as $150,000. Furthermore, the card states that turning mask-less customers away from your business will be “reported to FTBA for further actions.”
HEADS UP fellow businesses…. This is not a thing. This is what happens when Arts and Crafts Karens have too much time on their hands. We will throw it in the trash and send them on their way. pic.twitter.com/VKACSA3pRU
— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) June 24, 2020
Lance, who owns a bar in West Hollywood, tweeted that the exemption cards are “not a thing”, and that “this is what happens when Arts and Crafts Karens have too much time on their hands.” LOL. Even at a quick glance, the card looks pretty fake, but upon doing some further digging, it gets even worse. Right off the bat, there are multiple typos, including that the actual name of the ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act. Pretty sure the government isn’t misspelling their own legislation on official documents.
Just because I was curious, I called the phone number on the card, which is supposedly the number to report ADA violations. False. The number is actually for the ADA Information Line, which is mostly meant for businesses to get “technical assistance” about complying with the ADA. The Information Line can provide information about filing claims of discrimination, but actual claims can only be filed online, by fax, or through the mail.
But at least the ADA is a real thing. The card also mentions the FTBA, which stands for Freedom To Breathe Agency. This definitely sounds like something that an avid Fox News viewer created two weeks ago, so I went to check out their website. Here’s the homepage:
Oops! Guess something went wrong! I’m not sure if this website ever existed, but various sources, including Newsweek, refer to FTBA as a Facebook Group, one that has no government affiliation of any kind. So basically, someone in this Facebook Group used their graphic design skills (but not spellcheck) to create this fake graphic that people can print out, laminate, and use as a way to own the Libs who are scared of, you know, a deadly virus. Great.
It’s unclear how many people have made use of the fake Exempt Card, but it received enough attention to warrant an official statement from the US Department of Justice, which enforces the ADA. In an alert posted to their website, the DOJ warned of “Fraudulent Facemask Flyers,” saying that these “postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department.” They stopped short of telling these idiots to wear their f*cking masks, but essentially made it clear that they’d like to be excluded from this narrative.
So yes, the exemption cards are obviously fake. But beyond that, why are these people so mad about wearing masks? Are there legitimate health risks that would make it unsafe for all these people to wear them? Turns out, the answer is not really. According to the CDC recommendations, the only groups who shouldn’t wear face coverings are “Children under age 2” and “Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.” Translation: pretty much anyone who can take off their mask without needing help can (and should) wear one.
Is wearing a mask fun? Not really. Can it cause obnoxious acne? Possibly. Can it also potentially save you and others from a life-threatening illness? Yes!! No one is happy that we’re still in a pandemic, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are STILL IN A PANDEMIC! Those surging case numbers are no joke, and at this point, wearing a mask is the least you can do. As for me, I’ll be staying my ass in the house for now, but to each their own.
Images: Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com; lancebass / Twitter; FTBAgency.com; Facebook