Should I wear a mask to use Uber?
April 1, 2020 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I haven’t been out in a month and have to use Uber to pick up prescriptions that aren’t eligible for delivery. The city just recommended masks; the only one I have is a surgical mask a neighbor left on all the doors in the building. Should I wear it?

My reasons for not wearing are that it makes me look sick and/or like I took a medical mask away from healthcare workers. I ordered a fabric mask for next time. I don’t want the driver to see me in a medical mask and get the wrong impression either way. I have been socially isolating for longer than a month because of my disability, I have basically no contact with anyone, if that matters. What do you guys think?
posted by dianeF to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sure, wear it, and don't worry about what the driver's impression is. If your city recommended them, they might be wearing one too.
posted by 41swans at 6:37 PM on April 1, 2020 [11 favorites]

Sure, wear it. What people think is not super important compared to your health. But what I've found is that if you explain things upfront to Uber drivers, they relax and are fine. Just say "oh, I never leave my house, I'm not sick at all, just trying to be careful" and they will be okay. Stay safe <3
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:38 PM on April 1, 2020 [7 favorites]

The city just recommended masks. You are complying, wisely, with this recommendation.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 PM on April 1, 2020 [13 favorites]

I don't know where you are, but the cab drivers I've seen here in Ottawa have been wearing masks. I don't think they'd judge a passenger who was also wearing one.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:06 PM on April 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have made myself and several of my relatives fabric masks. We were all expecting to get looks going out in public with them. We did not. It seems like everyone's too worried about their own shit to worry about whether you've got a mask on or not.

If the Uber driver(s) ask, you can explain that you've been isolated at home but a neighbor left masks on all your doors, and since the single mask wouldn't be accepted at the hospital at that point, you're wearing it to comply with the city's request while you wait for a fabric mask. But I don't think they'll ask. If anything, they'll be glad you're wearing it -- because wearing the mask does more to protect them from you.
posted by pie ninja at 7:06 PM on April 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

There are a thousand things people might think about you right now whether you have a mask on or not, and there's nothing you can do about it except deal with whatever comes up, if anything even does. You are unlikely to be assaulted in any way, at worst a stranger might privately hold an unpleasant opinion of you, which you will survive.

You city says to wear masks. It sounds like you are a vulnerable member of the population. Wear a mask.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:14 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yes. Wear it.
posted by loveandhappiness at 7:16 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you do not look East Asian: wear the mask.

If you do look East Asian: wear the mask, but make a point of explaining your health situation and your history of self-quarantine. There's been a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and there's a thing about Asian people wearing masks. It doesn't make sense, since people in masks are less likely to spread their germs, but there you are.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2020 [11 favorites]

It wouldn't be a stupid idea to wear whatever gloves come to hand as well if you are in any way vulnerable. Again, you might feel silly or conspicuous but everyone will understand it's caution and it will be unlikely to cause any comment or offence.

What I'm suggesting is entirely an overabundance of caution, so you are also welcome to ignore it.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 7:32 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, you guys. I will wear it. As a bonus, it will hide the mustache I’ve been growing while people are keeping their distance.
posted by dianeF at 8:09 PM on April 1, 2020 [13 favorites]

Wear it. Why not. The most important thing is to wash your hands and do not touch your face. Put on a clean mask before you leave the house and keep your hands away from your face until you have thoroughly washed them.
posted by 0bvious at 4:16 AM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wear it. I started wearing one (homemade) when I found people in grocery stores giving more space to people wearing masks.
posted by spindrifter at 7:25 AM on April 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

I wear a bandana like an old west bank robber. Wish I had a duster leather jacket.
posted by AugustWest at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Clean it first. Steam should do it. Let it dry thoroughly before you use it.
posted by Ted Maul at 11:14 AM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I wear a homemade cloth mask when I go outside now. If anyone challenges me in a way that implies they won’t take “just being careful” and let it go, my plan is to say it helps with pollen allergies (which it actually does). So “pollen” is another possible script to use. People understand pollen allergies in spring.

But no one has challenged me (which is related to the fact that I’m a white woman). Instead, people seem to be extra careful about giving me a six-foot radius. My guess is that they assume I’m immunocompromised, pregnant, etc.
posted by snowmentality at 5:59 AM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

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