Orangeburg residents have different views on donning their masks in public as COVID-19 cases continue their rise.
Joe Huff said, “I don’t see it as a big issue.”
“It’s pretty easy to do, especially when you’re in a store with a bunch of other people,” Huff said. “It may seem unnecessary to some people but seems like a small sacrifice.”
“As far as getting back to normal, I think the mask mandate will probably be in place for a while, and I think if everyone just kind of suffers through this right now, we can get on the other side of this thing sooner,” he said.
Huff has different masks for different occasions, including one made for him by his girlfriend for social settings.
He pointed to his blue surgical mask, saying it is his business mask.
The Centers for Disease Control calls cloth face coverings "a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities." It also says there is evidence the coverings can help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
Several communities, including Orangeburg County and the City of Orangeburg, are mandating face masks in public spaces like stores.
Arnetia Hutcherson believes masks are necessary in continuing the fight against infection.
“I don’t think we should do away with them because it’s not just to protect the person wearing them, it’s for the person that’s not wearing them that could get infected with COVID-19,” Hutcherson said.
She proudly displayed her very own N95 mask, which she uses to go out in public for groceries or business.
Additionally, she said she also has a cloth one when at home because “I even wear it to answer my door.”
On the other hand, Orangeburg resident Sip Thompson said he is against wearing the masks due to his strong faith.
“The reason I don’t wear it, and I don’t know how it may seem to everybody else, but I trust what the Word says,” Thompson said. “It’s almost like I’d trust the mask over God.”
Thompson went on to say that germs have always been in the atmosphere.
“All of a sudden now He can’t protect me because of this? No, that’s not the case,” he said. “I don’t need to do it because He already protects me.”
Thompson said he remains wary of the media and others trying to influence and condition people into doing things.
“When everybody’s doing something, it’s probably wrong,” Thompson said. “I don’t mind being the oddball in the crowd. I don’t mind being the one that looks like I need to be ostracized because everybody else is doing it but I’m not.”
Pastor Charcey Priester of St. Paul Baptist Church said he wears his mask for the safety of others.
“In this pandemic, this virus is airborne, and I feel that it is of my safety to protect myself and others as well by wearing the mask” Priester said.
“It is my sincere prayer that this virus will end and that we can get back to a normal life,” he added. “But until then, while the virus is still present, I will continue to wear my mask.”
Priester also has several masks, including one given to him by a church member with the name of the church on it and a different mask to show his support for his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Additionally, he uses a face shield from the Orangeburg-Calhoun Free Health Clinic, which he said allows him to breathe better.
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