The Malta Independent 26 September 2021, Sunday

Watch: Many vaccinated still feel safer wearing a mask in public

Janet Fenech Saturday, 24 July 2021, 07:55 Last update: about 3 months ago

Despite conducting this voxpop at lunchtime, when Malta’s sun rays are at their peak, most vaccinated people from different age groups - even tourists - say that, though permitted, they are not yet completely comfortable outside without a face covering.

This Voxpop was conducted over two days in mid-July at Bizazza Street, Sliema and Republic Street, Valletta.

Several females in their 20s stated that even though vaccinated, they believe one should continue to wear a mask outside even when alone in public since Covid-19 cases on the island are again rapidly increasing.

A woman in her late 30s, donning a KN-95 face mask, said that just up until yesterday (20th July), she was not feeling too fazed about taking advantage of the non-mask-wearing perk for vaccinated people when outside. However, she said that from today (21st’ July) she is no longer feeling safe in this regard, and thus, has on her own initiative, resumed to wear her mask wherever she goes.

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The only unvaccinated person who chose to speak to us was a young male teen. He exclaimed that he thinks everyone should continue to don a face mask and he will continue to do so himself “not matter what”, even once getting vaccinated.

Even if I do get vaccinated, I’m still going to be wearing the mask, no matter what,” he said.

All the elderly vaccinated Maltese men we came across felt much safer to continue wearing a face covering when alone outside in public. They felt it to be still too risky to go without one for the time being, vaccinated or not. One said it was the way to go to safeguard not just himself but his whole family.

As one man said: “I’m always with it (the mask), I feel safer, even though I’m vaccinated”.

There were a few speakers who said that though they still didn’t feel completely safe to go without a mask outdoors but they were relieved to be able to do so.

I feel safe up to a point. But, I feel great, I can get rid of it for a while,” she said.

All the passers-by who spoke to us (but one) nonetheless said that when they were going without their mask outside, they would make sure to keep distance between themselves and others.

One middle aged lady said: “When you’re not wearing a mask you still don’t feel so comfortable and try to keep away from others. That’s how everyone has to take care of their health”.

The only passer-by who exclaimed he felt safe to go around everywhere without his mask was a fully vaccinated American male in his late 30s. 

I feel very safe, If you’re vaccinated you don’t need a mask,’’ he said.

One female tourist in her 20s lamented that since understanding that even fully vaccinated people can catch Covid-19, she isn’t convinced either way. She is fully vaccinated but when approaching a crowded area outdoors she opts to put on her mask.

“I try to do [my] best to use the mask”, she said.

Lastly, a foreign fully vaccinated couple whose holiday was ending on the day we spoke to them expressed that even when walking around just the two of them, they felt safer not to relish Malta’s non-mask wearing perk outside.
Though acknowledging the discomfort of wearing a face covering in the heat, and looking different in their holiday photos this year (ft. the mask!), they still chose to consistently wear masks. They made known, that in doing so they felt they were doing their part to harbour the collective initiative to defeat the virus and “earn back their lives”.

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