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Morning Poll: Are You Still Wearing a Mask By Default When Entering a Business?

If you’re fully vaccinated, there’s no longer a requirement to wear a mask in most places you go in Arlington.

There are exceptions — notably at the airport, in schools, and in healthcare settings — but most businesses are now following CDC guidelines and allowing the fully vaccinated to go mask-less.

There was, of course, a time in the pandemic when masks were very necessary to slow the spread of the disease and save lives.

Most masks worn by members of the general public are of the cloth or disposable surgical variety, which are moderately effective at preventing transmission, mostly by the wearer. That made masks an important public health tool during a pandemic caused by an airborne virus that can be highly contagious before an infected person shows symptoms.

Cloth and surgical masks are not as effective at filtering inhaled particles — and thus preventing the wearer from becoming infected — as the N95 masks used by healthcare workers, but are generally seen as better than nothing, particularly when worn in crowded settings indoors.

With about two-thirds of eligible Arlington residents at least partially vaccinated, and average daily new infections in the low single-digits, a fully vaccinated person wearing a surgical or cloth mask in most situations is conveying very little public health benefit. Rather, if anything it’s more of a societal signal — a thoughtful, if unnecessary, courtesy to those around you.

Many in Arlington, we’ve observed, are still wearing masks by default when entering a business, like a restaurant or a store. Perhaps some are not vaccinated, while for others it’s out of habit or uncertainty about which businesses still require masks.

This morning we’re wondering: what is your default regarding masks when stepping into a business?

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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Submit your own Announcement here.

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