To Mask or Not to Mask

In America, no matter what side of politics you are on, I think we can all agree that the topic of Covid-19 masks has been quite controversial.  I have seen people get incredibly upset at others for not wearing masks, and I have had people yell at me because I AM wearing a mask.  Dr. Fauci has received death threats, and his adult children have been harassed.  Friends of mine who have duel citizenship in Canada and USA just returned from a one month trip to Canada and said that it is literally hard to be back in the States because of the palpable tension they can feel here.

Perhaps because of my love of travel and interest in different cultures, I have been especially curious how citizens in different countries are handling the issue of wearing masks.  Since I am part of an international travel expert social media group, I decided to ask them how people in their respective countries were adapting to wearing masks.
Here were the responses I received.

South Africa
In South Africa, shops will not let anyone in unless they have a mask – no protests about wearing masks – everyone accepts that it is necessary and needed.  People do heavily question government decisions and rules and regulations, so there are quite a few cases going to court on this.
~Luke Lalin

In Zimbabwe it is mandatory by law and people are following this.
~Luke Brown

In Japan, it was already well in the culture: every year during winter for flu and spring for pollen season, many people wear masks to avoid making others sick and as a courtesy if their nose is running or sneezing etc.  So it was accepted without any issue. It’s not mandatory but everyone wears it indoors and half or more use it also outdoors (street, parks…).  Hand sanitizers are available really everywhere and widely used.  Self temp check for all kids before going to school or activities (soccer etc) and at many companies too.  Apart from that, life is pretty normal, everything is open, including schools, shops, pools & gyms, as well as most restaurants and bars – the latter being a bit of an issue and source of contamination, because that’s where people don’t wear masks in an enclosed space and in short distance). To finish, borders are still closed to foreigners (Japanese people can travel although they are quarantined 2 weeks upon return).
~Eric Demay

In Mexico sadly we are in the lowest percentage of people using masks.  Our president announced in public that there is no scientific evidence that it helps so nobody wears them.  Only the people with highest level of education uses them.
~Paola Kramis

In Argentina it is mandatory to wear masks. This is something that was accepted without any problem by most of the people. Even those that disagree wear it.
~Lucas Kambic

In Canada it is very serious and every province passed a law that masks are obligatory everywhere. If they do not adhere you cannot get in and fines come with it. Of course there are always the crazies, but very few.
~Lina Pagliarulo

In Russia, people usually say it’s politicians’ weird games.
~Vicky Shomova

We are very serious Mask users. Not one peep of opposition. Masks are becoming fashionable here. All sorts of Indian fabrics being used
~Rajeev Kohli

We have much stricter police state and the virus was shut down with an extreme curfew quickly here. We could only go out once every three days and even then we had to apply for a police permit. Fines are heavy and used often as we’ve been wearing masks from the beginning and lots and lots of testing from day one to now so now our numbers are low.
~Chris (not comfortable providing last name)

We have to wear masks on the streets and most people do so, but some put it under the chin or take it out. It’s not because they think it’s a hoax, but because they don’t care much.
~Meltem Iskit

Here the mask is mandatory, and there is a fine if you don’t wear one.  We all use them.
~Alan Edwin

Everybody here is aware that Corona exists and wears masks.
~Ahmed Salim

Here in the Philippines everyone wears masks, many wear shields and a few wear the ppe suits. It’s still very strict. We are the country with the longest lockdown. We have checkpoints in some parts.
~(name not available)

In Germany most people are sticking to it but there is a movement from the far right (opposite left) areas trying to interfere. They are just stupid and ignorant. Nevertheless if we have to go in another shutdown or a real shutdown due mostly to people getting too relaxed, this right wing claiming “do not worry, do not wear masks, fight for your rights” will become a problem.
~Stephanie Elingshausen

In Israel it is mandatory in public places, and most people are cooperative
~Tova Wald

Hong Kong
In Hong Kong everybody has been wearing masks for months even when for two months we had almost no contagious in the community. Full compliance.  Now we are having new waves of contagious and it is now compulsory to wear one. In a nutshell there is no fretting about wearing masks or not. Focus is on other issues deemed more important.
~Responder preferred not to share his name due to the political climate in Hong Kong.