All the latest news and views from Bild.

7 October 2020

Coronavirus and wearing a mask

Kate Brackley works at Bild and has been writing a series of blog posts for us to share her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week she is looking at the impact of wearing a mask or being around people wearing a mask and how people can help.

World Smile Day took place on October 2nd this year. It’s harder to see people smile now when they are wearing a mask.

It’s everyone’s choice about wearing a mask when they’re not in places where it is the law to wear one. If people have a special reason not to wear a mask they don’t have to.

In my daily life I see people that wear a mask when I talk to them and it feels ok. But for me I would rather see a complete face and the person smiling back at me. We cannot hug or kiss anybody that we are close to. I understand that, but when it comes to family, I struggle with this. They are my family, I love them, and I do like to be hugged and for me this is so difficult.

I see masks as a barrier for a lot of people. Before coronavirus we were seeing many people and their faces as normal. Now it’s so different seeing people wearing masks but I understand that it is essential.

I find the barrier of a mask really hard. I can’t tell who somebody is if I see them in a shop or cafe. If you see somebody you know when you are out it is a good idea to say who you are to them if you’re wearing a mask. For me, that would be helpful and then I can say hello, it’s nice to see you.

The government virus restrictions are difficult for everyone but I think it is hard for people with learning disabilities and/or autism to feel safe when they are out and about.

For some people it could be difficult for them to understand why they need to wear a mask and also difficult to wear one. They may rely on reading people’s facial expressions and this is harder to see when someone is wearing a mask.

For people who have health concerns and breathing difficulties wearing a mask is difficult and could lead to an asthma attack. Therefore people can be exempt from wearing a mask.

People should not be asked why they are not wearing a mask but people may feel safer with an exemption card that you can get from the GOV.UK website.

From my experience of wearing a mask I did find it hard and scary at first but I understand how serious coronavirus is and how this has changed everybody’s lives and it’s important to follow government rules and restrictions.

At first I used disposable masks but did not cope very well with these so now I use a visor and comfy cotton masks and I feel safer and more confident when I go out.

There are unfortunately some people who can be cruel and bully people with learning disabilities and/or autism for not wearing a mask. This will come under hate crime/mate crime and can be reported to the police as this is against the law.

This is a worrying and distressing time for everyone and people’s mental health could be affected. It is important to support people and to sit with them and listen to their worries and concerns and provide reassurance.

Please follow the rules and stay safe!