Heading

This is some text inside of a div block.

Don't be so quick to throw out your masks

OPINION: There from the beginning of the pandemic, it’s the mask, not the vaccine, that has really defined the cultural milieu. As they've developed their own etiquette and mores, increasingly they have more in common with accessories such as hats and gloves of the 19th century, than with a piece of medical inventory.

Kristine Crabb, formerly of Miss Crabb and now of Gloria, released the Macbeth mask in early November 2021, about the same time all three Auckland DHBs were closing in on 90% double vaccination rates, and amongst talk of opening up and dismantling borders - both those around our largest city and between us and the rest of the world.

A year earlier, this might have seemed like a curious time for a high-end fashion boutique to release their first ever rendition of a face mask – a vaccine had been previously touted as the one-way ticket to whisk us all away from our feverish nightmare

“It seemed like mask wearing would be a thing for some time,” says Crabb, “but these ones had a life after Covid also, which I just loved, as a beautiful fabric accessory and tie-on garment. I also felt this was quite a fresh take on the designer mask*.”

And we now know she was right. Earlier in the pandemic, mask production was a way for designers, grounded like everyone else due to lockdown, to make a contribution to the effort, with the added environmental bonus of using offcuts of signature prints.

Now, they weren’t going anywhere, and designers started playing with them. Also signalling the change from the disaster-communication of 2020s levels, to managing a chronic omnipresent threat was the traffic light system – and in bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease.

The very nature of public health measures means they often tread a tenuous line between public good and individual freedoms (taxes on cigarettes, seat belts, water fluoridation all being obvious and emotive examples). It is no surprise then – and has been said before – that countries who value the collective have done better in measures like death per capita than those who place a stronger cultural importance on personal freedoms.

Covid-19 also stumbled on a time of political and environmental upheaval, and once inoculated, each country brewed their own biological and social ferment. Perhaps, in retrospect, the science has been the easy part. But it is the latter that fashion thrives on.

It didn’t take long in the Covid-19 timeline for masks to become a symbol, at the extremes, of either civic duty or oppression. But either way, an icon for an invisible threat.

In bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease. Photo / Rob Tennent.

Masks have meant a lot of other things to various groups in the middle, too – differing over time. They had already cropped up on runways prior to Covid, usually as an anti-pollution sentiment. (And not for the first time: after the scientific discovery of dust, Parisian women wore veils in the 19th century.)

In the early days, you may or may not have worn one, as institutions lagged in their endorsements (the CDC in April 2020, followed by the WHO in June), before becoming associated with the idea of getting shit done in a world awash with virus – going to a workplace if you had to, the supermarket, arranging one’s affairs.

Others project dissent: Hong Kong protestors used masks to protect their identity on CCTV, and they became a compelling feature in the photo stream pouring out of the pre-vaccination-era Black Lives Matters protests, where they often served the dual purpose of communicating a deep, systemic, multi-generational pain. (Sadly but unsurprisingly less acknowledged, is that when BLM protests did not appear to correlate with spikes in infection, they made an important academic contribution to the scientific literature on the efficacy of masks, which took some time to come together in the early days of the pandemic.)

As time wore on, in countries overseas where people have felt let down by centralised, government responses to Covid-19 – or even similarly for people who disagree with the easing of restrictions – masks came to symbolise taking one’s health (and those around you) into one’s own hands.

But then. From mid-December and emerging from a three-month Auckland lockdown, a change in key: as hospitality, retail and delightful things tentatively opened back up, masks felt more like basic etiquette, manners. A way to be ushered from space to space, like from a foyer to a table in a restaurant, or like removing one’s coat.

It felt like we could, like Kristine Crabb, start to have a little fun with masks; come up with variants of our own. (There is a sort of vertically mounted and retractable highlighter pink visor on a notable Uber Eats driver delivering around central Auckland, which is a face shield, not a mask, and perhaps of dubious protection, but noteworthy nonetheless.)

There grew a noticeable intimacy – the kind fashion loves to play with – by way of the sheer novelty in seeing another’s bare face; usually associated with a meal. I changed frontline workplaces in late October, since which time all my colleagues have been wearing N95s around the clock, and have worked weeks alongside them, feeling very familiar in the company, before seeing their face over, say, a socially distanced coffee or lunch.

It’s akin to the surprise at meeting someone in person when you’re only well acquainted with their voice - like on the radio, for example. (What gives one the idea you might well have guessed their appearance?) Add to that the ubiquity of smartphone filters, even on something as utilitarian as zoom calls, and it feels increasingly rare to see someone’s IRL face.

And so, as masks transcend from medical inventory to garment, they come with their own manners and quirks, folded into social norms. Lipstick, more than ever, seems elevated due to both opportunity and setting. Eating with someone feels more intimate (and is). One can stifle a little yawn under a mask, but don’t be lulled into thinking it will hide an eye roll (which I have). Your iPhone can’t (or won’t) recognise you. I am both more self conscious of my crow’s feet, but also like the way that they convey a smile when my lips can’t.

After work, removing an N95 feels better than shedding any bra, any pair of tights, any heel. Summer presented a challenge: my friend Jean insists on reusable silk masks in the warmer months (such as these ones dyed with eco dyes, or these ones with recycled fabrics.) And when removing your masks to eat or drink, never, ever put it on the table.

The question of whether masks will stay within your wardrobes – in the side pocket of your bag, the glove compartment of your car – when the immediate threat (including omicron, which fostered a conservative swing in mask design back to clinical purity) is gone is a question predominantly for the West - in many parts of Asia, wearing a mask because either you are sick, or because of pollution has been normalised for some time, due to the SARS outbreak.

Would we wear them when they are not mandated? I am no germaphobe, but after the last two years, the idea of getting on public transport without one does seem odd. Certainly, donning one somewhere like a supermarket in winter seems sensible. Going to your doctor's office during flu season? It would seem absurd not to.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Photo / Rob Tennent

A lot has been written on the subject of how near-ubiquitous hats, like gloves, completely and sharply disappeared from public in the space of a few years. Most attribute it to John F. Kennedy,  who never wore one. But a more interesting theory is that once every household had its own car – replacing bus and train travel, and short walks in between the two – coupled with the advent of sunglasses and sunscreen, all negated the need for a hat outside of cultural or religious practices.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Covid will subside, of course, and become another one of our endemic seasonal illnesses. But there will always be a winter, and there will always be infectious diseases, and there could always be a role for masks. It is whether outside of a pandemic there is enough activation energy in the usual winter to make an immunocompetent person wear one. Or, after all of this, where New Zealand really ends up sitting on the spectrum of collectivism versus individualism, as compared to two years ago.

Much has been written about what vibe shift we can expect post pandemic, without committing to what that really is and why, more than to say we are lifting the cultural bell jar of the last two years of rolling lockdowns and (especially important in other parts of the world) grief, to find ourselves running in different directions out from the centre. (Distractingly for elder millennials, it does also seem we are for sure having our own youths handed to us as retro for the first time, by kids who are wearing it better and are astoundingly much, much better at makeup than we were).

Early Covid-19 was sweetly sincere, perhaps too much so for some (think cottage core, or Anne of Green Gables – those romantic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves that will accidentally sweep your dining fork off the table and are a nightmare from an infection control point of view). But we’ve all had to do a lot of thinking over the past two years, and perhaps it will harness the kind of smarts you get when you can hold two uncomfortable narratives in your head at once. (It’s not a mask or a vaccine. It’s not the black and white, good-versus-evil thinking of conspiracy theorists, or even cancel culture. It can both be true that Woody Allen once made very likeable movies; you cannot enjoy them anymore.)

The country moved to orange traffic light setting as of midnight Wednesday, and various forms of mask requirement remain: they are no longer required of the public in hospitality venues, although public facing servers are still; disappointing, especially for the sake of our teachers, neither are they mandatory at schools although strongly encouraged; they remain a requirement in retail, public transport, and curiously (especially given the schools), at the vet. So as good as it feels to take it off at the end of the day, don’t be so quick to throw out your masks. Yet.

* The short version of the evidence regarding masks is that surgical or medical grade N95s are best and gold standard especially if you’re in proximity with people for long amounts of time, but ultimately the masks you actually wear are the most effective. At the time Crabb was contacted for comment, the wildly contagious Omicron had not been identified.

No items found.

OPINION: There from the beginning of the pandemic, it’s the mask, not the vaccine, that has really defined the cultural milieu. As they've developed their own etiquette and mores, increasingly they have more in common with accessories such as hats and gloves of the 19th century, than with a piece of medical inventory.

Kristine Crabb, formerly of Miss Crabb and now of Gloria, released the Macbeth mask in early November 2021, about the same time all three Auckland DHBs were closing in on 90% double vaccination rates, and amongst talk of opening up and dismantling borders - both those around our largest city and between us and the rest of the world.

A year earlier, this might have seemed like a curious time for a high-end fashion boutique to release their first ever rendition of a face mask – a vaccine had been previously touted as the one-way ticket to whisk us all away from our feverish nightmare

“It seemed like mask wearing would be a thing for some time,” says Crabb, “but these ones had a life after Covid also, which I just loved, as a beautiful fabric accessory and tie-on garment. I also felt this was quite a fresh take on the designer mask*.”

And we now know she was right. Earlier in the pandemic, mask production was a way for designers, grounded like everyone else due to lockdown, to make a contribution to the effort, with the added environmental bonus of using offcuts of signature prints.

Now, they weren’t going anywhere, and designers started playing with them. Also signalling the change from the disaster-communication of 2020s levels, to managing a chronic omnipresent threat was the traffic light system – and in bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease.

The very nature of public health measures means they often tread a tenuous line between public good and individual freedoms (taxes on cigarettes, seat belts, water fluoridation all being obvious and emotive examples). It is no surprise then – and has been said before – that countries who value the collective have done better in measures like death per capita than those who place a stronger cultural importance on personal freedoms.

Covid-19 also stumbled on a time of political and environmental upheaval, and once inoculated, each country brewed their own biological and social ferment. Perhaps, in retrospect, the science has been the easy part. But it is the latter that fashion thrives on.

It didn’t take long in the Covid-19 timeline for masks to become a symbol, at the extremes, of either civic duty or oppression. But either way, an icon for an invisible threat.

In bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease. Photo / Rob Tennent.

Masks have meant a lot of other things to various groups in the middle, too – differing over time. They had already cropped up on runways prior to Covid, usually as an anti-pollution sentiment. (And not for the first time: after the scientific discovery of dust, Parisian women wore veils in the 19th century.)

In the early days, you may or may not have worn one, as institutions lagged in their endorsements (the CDC in April 2020, followed by the WHO in June), before becoming associated with the idea of getting shit done in a world awash with virus – going to a workplace if you had to, the supermarket, arranging one’s affairs.

Others project dissent: Hong Kong protestors used masks to protect their identity on CCTV, and they became a compelling feature in the photo stream pouring out of the pre-vaccination-era Black Lives Matters protests, where they often served the dual purpose of communicating a deep, systemic, multi-generational pain. (Sadly but unsurprisingly less acknowledged, is that when BLM protests did not appear to correlate with spikes in infection, they made an important academic contribution to the scientific literature on the efficacy of masks, which took some time to come together in the early days of the pandemic.)

As time wore on, in countries overseas where people have felt let down by centralised, government responses to Covid-19 – or even similarly for people who disagree with the easing of restrictions – masks came to symbolise taking one’s health (and those around you) into one’s own hands.

But then. From mid-December and emerging from a three-month Auckland lockdown, a change in key: as hospitality, retail and delightful things tentatively opened back up, masks felt more like basic etiquette, manners. A way to be ushered from space to space, like from a foyer to a table in a restaurant, or like removing one’s coat.

It felt like we could, like Kristine Crabb, start to have a little fun with masks; come up with variants of our own. (There is a sort of vertically mounted and retractable highlighter pink visor on a notable Uber Eats driver delivering around central Auckland, which is a face shield, not a mask, and perhaps of dubious protection, but noteworthy nonetheless.)

There grew a noticeable intimacy – the kind fashion loves to play with – by way of the sheer novelty in seeing another’s bare face; usually associated with a meal. I changed frontline workplaces in late October, since which time all my colleagues have been wearing N95s around the clock, and have worked weeks alongside them, feeling very familiar in the company, before seeing their face over, say, a socially distanced coffee or lunch.

It’s akin to the surprise at meeting someone in person when you’re only well acquainted with their voice - like on the radio, for example. (What gives one the idea you might well have guessed their appearance?) Add to that the ubiquity of smartphone filters, even on something as utilitarian as zoom calls, and it feels increasingly rare to see someone’s IRL face.

And so, as masks transcend from medical inventory to garment, they come with their own manners and quirks, folded into social norms. Lipstick, more than ever, seems elevated due to both opportunity and setting. Eating with someone feels more intimate (and is). One can stifle a little yawn under a mask, but don’t be lulled into thinking it will hide an eye roll (which I have). Your iPhone can’t (or won’t) recognise you. I am both more self conscious of my crow’s feet, but also like the way that they convey a smile when my lips can’t.

After work, removing an N95 feels better than shedding any bra, any pair of tights, any heel. Summer presented a challenge: my friend Jean insists on reusable silk masks in the warmer months (such as these ones dyed with eco dyes, or these ones with recycled fabrics.) And when removing your masks to eat or drink, never, ever put it on the table.

The question of whether masks will stay within your wardrobes – in the side pocket of your bag, the glove compartment of your car – when the immediate threat (including omicron, which fostered a conservative swing in mask design back to clinical purity) is gone is a question predominantly for the West - in many parts of Asia, wearing a mask because either you are sick, or because of pollution has been normalised for some time, due to the SARS outbreak.

Would we wear them when they are not mandated? I am no germaphobe, but after the last two years, the idea of getting on public transport without one does seem odd. Certainly, donning one somewhere like a supermarket in winter seems sensible. Going to your doctor's office during flu season? It would seem absurd not to.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Photo / Rob Tennent

A lot has been written on the subject of how near-ubiquitous hats, like gloves, completely and sharply disappeared from public in the space of a few years. Most attribute it to John F. Kennedy,  who never wore one. But a more interesting theory is that once every household had its own car – replacing bus and train travel, and short walks in between the two – coupled with the advent of sunglasses and sunscreen, all negated the need for a hat outside of cultural or religious practices.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Covid will subside, of course, and become another one of our endemic seasonal illnesses. But there will always be a winter, and there will always be infectious diseases, and there could always be a role for masks. It is whether outside of a pandemic there is enough activation energy in the usual winter to make an immunocompetent person wear one. Or, after all of this, where New Zealand really ends up sitting on the spectrum of collectivism versus individualism, as compared to two years ago.

Much has been written about what vibe shift we can expect post pandemic, without committing to what that really is and why, more than to say we are lifting the cultural bell jar of the last two years of rolling lockdowns and (especially important in other parts of the world) grief, to find ourselves running in different directions out from the centre. (Distractingly for elder millennials, it does also seem we are for sure having our own youths handed to us as retro for the first time, by kids who are wearing it better and are astoundingly much, much better at makeup than we were).

Early Covid-19 was sweetly sincere, perhaps too much so for some (think cottage core, or Anne of Green Gables – those romantic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves that will accidentally sweep your dining fork off the table and are a nightmare from an infection control point of view). But we’ve all had to do a lot of thinking over the past two years, and perhaps it will harness the kind of smarts you get when you can hold two uncomfortable narratives in your head at once. (It’s not a mask or a vaccine. It’s not the black and white, good-versus-evil thinking of conspiracy theorists, or even cancel culture. It can both be true that Woody Allen once made very likeable movies; you cannot enjoy them anymore.)

The country moved to orange traffic light setting as of midnight Wednesday, and various forms of mask requirement remain: they are no longer required of the public in hospitality venues, although public facing servers are still; disappointing, especially for the sake of our teachers, neither are they mandatory at schools although strongly encouraged; they remain a requirement in retail, public transport, and curiously (especially given the schools), at the vet. So as good as it feels to take it off at the end of the day, don’t be so quick to throw out your masks. Yet.

* The short version of the evidence regarding masks is that surgical or medical grade N95s are best and gold standard especially if you’re in proximity with people for long amounts of time, but ultimately the masks you actually wear are the most effective. At the time Crabb was contacted for comment, the wildly contagious Omicron had not been identified.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Don't be so quick to throw out your masks

OPINION: There from the beginning of the pandemic, it’s the mask, not the vaccine, that has really defined the cultural milieu. As they've developed their own etiquette and mores, increasingly they have more in common with accessories such as hats and gloves of the 19th century, than with a piece of medical inventory.

Kristine Crabb, formerly of Miss Crabb and now of Gloria, released the Macbeth mask in early November 2021, about the same time all three Auckland DHBs were closing in on 90% double vaccination rates, and amongst talk of opening up and dismantling borders - both those around our largest city and between us and the rest of the world.

A year earlier, this might have seemed like a curious time for a high-end fashion boutique to release their first ever rendition of a face mask – a vaccine had been previously touted as the one-way ticket to whisk us all away from our feverish nightmare

“It seemed like mask wearing would be a thing for some time,” says Crabb, “but these ones had a life after Covid also, which I just loved, as a beautiful fabric accessory and tie-on garment. I also felt this was quite a fresh take on the designer mask*.”

And we now know she was right. Earlier in the pandemic, mask production was a way for designers, grounded like everyone else due to lockdown, to make a contribution to the effort, with the added environmental bonus of using offcuts of signature prints.

Now, they weren’t going anywhere, and designers started playing with them. Also signalling the change from the disaster-communication of 2020s levels, to managing a chronic omnipresent threat was the traffic light system – and in bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease.

The very nature of public health measures means they often tread a tenuous line between public good and individual freedoms (taxes on cigarettes, seat belts, water fluoridation all being obvious and emotive examples). It is no surprise then – and has been said before – that countries who value the collective have done better in measures like death per capita than those who place a stronger cultural importance on personal freedoms.

Covid-19 also stumbled on a time of political and environmental upheaval, and once inoculated, each country brewed their own biological and social ferment. Perhaps, in retrospect, the science has been the easy part. But it is the latter that fashion thrives on.

It didn’t take long in the Covid-19 timeline for masks to become a symbol, at the extremes, of either civic duty or oppression. But either way, an icon for an invisible threat.

In bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease. Photo / Rob Tennent.

Masks have meant a lot of other things to various groups in the middle, too – differing over time. They had already cropped up on runways prior to Covid, usually as an anti-pollution sentiment. (And not for the first time: after the scientific discovery of dust, Parisian women wore veils in the 19th century.)

In the early days, you may or may not have worn one, as institutions lagged in their endorsements (the CDC in April 2020, followed by the WHO in June), before becoming associated with the idea of getting shit done in a world awash with virus – going to a workplace if you had to, the supermarket, arranging one’s affairs.

Others project dissent: Hong Kong protestors used masks to protect their identity on CCTV, and they became a compelling feature in the photo stream pouring out of the pre-vaccination-era Black Lives Matters protests, where they often served the dual purpose of communicating a deep, systemic, multi-generational pain. (Sadly but unsurprisingly less acknowledged, is that when BLM protests did not appear to correlate with spikes in infection, they made an important academic contribution to the scientific literature on the efficacy of masks, which took some time to come together in the early days of the pandemic.)

As time wore on, in countries overseas where people have felt let down by centralised, government responses to Covid-19 – or even similarly for people who disagree with the easing of restrictions – masks came to symbolise taking one’s health (and those around you) into one’s own hands.

But then. From mid-December and emerging from a three-month Auckland lockdown, a change in key: as hospitality, retail and delightful things tentatively opened back up, masks felt more like basic etiquette, manners. A way to be ushered from space to space, like from a foyer to a table in a restaurant, or like removing one’s coat.

It felt like we could, like Kristine Crabb, start to have a little fun with masks; come up with variants of our own. (There is a sort of vertically mounted and retractable highlighter pink visor on a notable Uber Eats driver delivering around central Auckland, which is a face shield, not a mask, and perhaps of dubious protection, but noteworthy nonetheless.)

There grew a noticeable intimacy – the kind fashion loves to play with – by way of the sheer novelty in seeing another’s bare face; usually associated with a meal. I changed frontline workplaces in late October, since which time all my colleagues have been wearing N95s around the clock, and have worked weeks alongside them, feeling very familiar in the company, before seeing their face over, say, a socially distanced coffee or lunch.

It’s akin to the surprise at meeting someone in person when you’re only well acquainted with their voice - like on the radio, for example. (What gives one the idea you might well have guessed their appearance?) Add to that the ubiquity of smartphone filters, even on something as utilitarian as zoom calls, and it feels increasingly rare to see someone’s IRL face.

And so, as masks transcend from medical inventory to garment, they come with their own manners and quirks, folded into social norms. Lipstick, more than ever, seems elevated due to both opportunity and setting. Eating with someone feels more intimate (and is). One can stifle a little yawn under a mask, but don’t be lulled into thinking it will hide an eye roll (which I have). Your iPhone can’t (or won’t) recognise you. I am both more self conscious of my crow’s feet, but also like the way that they convey a smile when my lips can’t.

After work, removing an N95 feels better than shedding any bra, any pair of tights, any heel. Summer presented a challenge: my friend Jean insists on reusable silk masks in the warmer months (such as these ones dyed with eco dyes, or these ones with recycled fabrics.) And when removing your masks to eat or drink, never, ever put it on the table.

The question of whether masks will stay within your wardrobes – in the side pocket of your bag, the glove compartment of your car – when the immediate threat (including omicron, which fostered a conservative swing in mask design back to clinical purity) is gone is a question predominantly for the West - in many parts of Asia, wearing a mask because either you are sick, or because of pollution has been normalised for some time, due to the SARS outbreak.

Would we wear them when they are not mandated? I am no germaphobe, but after the last two years, the idea of getting on public transport without one does seem odd. Certainly, donning one somewhere like a supermarket in winter seems sensible. Going to your doctor's office during flu season? It would seem absurd not to.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Photo / Rob Tennent

A lot has been written on the subject of how near-ubiquitous hats, like gloves, completely and sharply disappeared from public in the space of a few years. Most attribute it to John F. Kennedy,  who never wore one. But a more interesting theory is that once every household had its own car – replacing bus and train travel, and short walks in between the two – coupled with the advent of sunglasses and sunscreen, all negated the need for a hat outside of cultural or religious practices.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Covid will subside, of course, and become another one of our endemic seasonal illnesses. But there will always be a winter, and there will always be infectious diseases, and there could always be a role for masks. It is whether outside of a pandemic there is enough activation energy in the usual winter to make an immunocompetent person wear one. Or, after all of this, where New Zealand really ends up sitting on the spectrum of collectivism versus individualism, as compared to two years ago.

Much has been written about what vibe shift we can expect post pandemic, without committing to what that really is and why, more than to say we are lifting the cultural bell jar of the last two years of rolling lockdowns and (especially important in other parts of the world) grief, to find ourselves running in different directions out from the centre. (Distractingly for elder millennials, it does also seem we are for sure having our own youths handed to us as retro for the first time, by kids who are wearing it better and are astoundingly much, much better at makeup than we were).

Early Covid-19 was sweetly sincere, perhaps too much so for some (think cottage core, or Anne of Green Gables – those romantic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves that will accidentally sweep your dining fork off the table and are a nightmare from an infection control point of view). But we’ve all had to do a lot of thinking over the past two years, and perhaps it will harness the kind of smarts you get when you can hold two uncomfortable narratives in your head at once. (It’s not a mask or a vaccine. It’s not the black and white, good-versus-evil thinking of conspiracy theorists, or even cancel culture. It can both be true that Woody Allen once made very likeable movies; you cannot enjoy them anymore.)

The country moved to orange traffic light setting as of midnight Wednesday, and various forms of mask requirement remain: they are no longer required of the public in hospitality venues, although public facing servers are still; disappointing, especially for the sake of our teachers, neither are they mandatory at schools although strongly encouraged; they remain a requirement in retail, public transport, and curiously (especially given the schools), at the vet. So as good as it feels to take it off at the end of the day, don’t be so quick to throw out your masks. Yet.

* The short version of the evidence regarding masks is that surgical or medical grade N95s are best and gold standard especially if you’re in proximity with people for long amounts of time, but ultimately the masks you actually wear are the most effective. At the time Crabb was contacted for comment, the wildly contagious Omicron had not been identified.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

Don't be so quick to throw out your masks

OPINION: There from the beginning of the pandemic, it’s the mask, not the vaccine, that has really defined the cultural milieu. As they've developed their own etiquette and mores, increasingly they have more in common with accessories such as hats and gloves of the 19th century, than with a piece of medical inventory.

Kristine Crabb, formerly of Miss Crabb and now of Gloria, released the Macbeth mask in early November 2021, about the same time all three Auckland DHBs were closing in on 90% double vaccination rates, and amongst talk of opening up and dismantling borders - both those around our largest city and between us and the rest of the world.

A year earlier, this might have seemed like a curious time for a high-end fashion boutique to release their first ever rendition of a face mask – a vaccine had been previously touted as the one-way ticket to whisk us all away from our feverish nightmare

“It seemed like mask wearing would be a thing for some time,” says Crabb, “but these ones had a life after Covid also, which I just loved, as a beautiful fabric accessory and tie-on garment. I also felt this was quite a fresh take on the designer mask*.”

And we now know she was right. Earlier in the pandemic, mask production was a way for designers, grounded like everyone else due to lockdown, to make a contribution to the effort, with the added environmental bonus of using offcuts of signature prints.

Now, they weren’t going anywhere, and designers started playing with them. Also signalling the change from the disaster-communication of 2020s levels, to managing a chronic omnipresent threat was the traffic light system – and in bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease.

The very nature of public health measures means they often tread a tenuous line between public good and individual freedoms (taxes on cigarettes, seat belts, water fluoridation all being obvious and emotive examples). It is no surprise then – and has been said before – that countries who value the collective have done better in measures like death per capita than those who place a stronger cultural importance on personal freedoms.

Covid-19 also stumbled on a time of political and environmental upheaval, and once inoculated, each country brewed their own biological and social ferment. Perhaps, in retrospect, the science has been the easy part. But it is the latter that fashion thrives on.

It didn’t take long in the Covid-19 timeline for masks to become a symbol, at the extremes, of either civic duty or oppression. But either way, an icon for an invisible threat.

In bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease. Photo / Rob Tennent.

Masks have meant a lot of other things to various groups in the middle, too – differing over time. They had already cropped up on runways prior to Covid, usually as an anti-pollution sentiment. (And not for the first time: after the scientific discovery of dust, Parisian women wore veils in the 19th century.)

In the early days, you may or may not have worn one, as institutions lagged in their endorsements (the CDC in April 2020, followed by the WHO in June), before becoming associated with the idea of getting shit done in a world awash with virus – going to a workplace if you had to, the supermarket, arranging one’s affairs.

Others project dissent: Hong Kong protestors used masks to protect their identity on CCTV, and they became a compelling feature in the photo stream pouring out of the pre-vaccination-era Black Lives Matters protests, where they often served the dual purpose of communicating a deep, systemic, multi-generational pain. (Sadly but unsurprisingly less acknowledged, is that when BLM protests did not appear to correlate with spikes in infection, they made an important academic contribution to the scientific literature on the efficacy of masks, which took some time to come together in the early days of the pandemic.)

As time wore on, in countries overseas where people have felt let down by centralised, government responses to Covid-19 – or even similarly for people who disagree with the easing of restrictions – masks came to symbolise taking one’s health (and those around you) into one’s own hands.

But then. From mid-December and emerging from a three-month Auckland lockdown, a change in key: as hospitality, retail and delightful things tentatively opened back up, masks felt more like basic etiquette, manners. A way to be ushered from space to space, like from a foyer to a table in a restaurant, or like removing one’s coat.

It felt like we could, like Kristine Crabb, start to have a little fun with masks; come up with variants of our own. (There is a sort of vertically mounted and retractable highlighter pink visor on a notable Uber Eats driver delivering around central Auckland, which is a face shield, not a mask, and perhaps of dubious protection, but noteworthy nonetheless.)

There grew a noticeable intimacy – the kind fashion loves to play with – by way of the sheer novelty in seeing another’s bare face; usually associated with a meal. I changed frontline workplaces in late October, since which time all my colleagues have been wearing N95s around the clock, and have worked weeks alongside them, feeling very familiar in the company, before seeing their face over, say, a socially distanced coffee or lunch.

It’s akin to the surprise at meeting someone in person when you’re only well acquainted with their voice - like on the radio, for example. (What gives one the idea you might well have guessed their appearance?) Add to that the ubiquity of smartphone filters, even on something as utilitarian as zoom calls, and it feels increasingly rare to see someone’s IRL face.

And so, as masks transcend from medical inventory to garment, they come with their own manners and quirks, folded into social norms. Lipstick, more than ever, seems elevated due to both opportunity and setting. Eating with someone feels more intimate (and is). One can stifle a little yawn under a mask, but don’t be lulled into thinking it will hide an eye roll (which I have). Your iPhone can’t (or won’t) recognise you. I am both more self conscious of my crow’s feet, but also like the way that they convey a smile when my lips can’t.

After work, removing an N95 feels better than shedding any bra, any pair of tights, any heel. Summer presented a challenge: my friend Jean insists on reusable silk masks in the warmer months (such as these ones dyed with eco dyes, or these ones with recycled fabrics.) And when removing your masks to eat or drink, never, ever put it on the table.

The question of whether masks will stay within your wardrobes – in the side pocket of your bag, the glove compartment of your car – when the immediate threat (including omicron, which fostered a conservative swing in mask design back to clinical purity) is gone is a question predominantly for the West - in many parts of Asia, wearing a mask because either you are sick, or because of pollution has been normalised for some time, due to the SARS outbreak.

Would we wear them when they are not mandated? I am no germaphobe, but after the last two years, the idea of getting on public transport without one does seem odd. Certainly, donning one somewhere like a supermarket in winter seems sensible. Going to your doctor's office during flu season? It would seem absurd not to.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Photo / Rob Tennent

A lot has been written on the subject of how near-ubiquitous hats, like gloves, completely and sharply disappeared from public in the space of a few years. Most attribute it to John F. Kennedy,  who never wore one. But a more interesting theory is that once every household had its own car – replacing bus and train travel, and short walks in between the two – coupled with the advent of sunglasses and sunscreen, all negated the need for a hat outside of cultural or religious practices.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Covid will subside, of course, and become another one of our endemic seasonal illnesses. But there will always be a winter, and there will always be infectious diseases, and there could always be a role for masks. It is whether outside of a pandemic there is enough activation energy in the usual winter to make an immunocompetent person wear one. Or, after all of this, where New Zealand really ends up sitting on the spectrum of collectivism versus individualism, as compared to two years ago.

Much has been written about what vibe shift we can expect post pandemic, without committing to what that really is and why, more than to say we are lifting the cultural bell jar of the last two years of rolling lockdowns and (especially important in other parts of the world) grief, to find ourselves running in different directions out from the centre. (Distractingly for elder millennials, it does also seem we are for sure having our own youths handed to us as retro for the first time, by kids who are wearing it better and are astoundingly much, much better at makeup than we were).

Early Covid-19 was sweetly sincere, perhaps too much so for some (think cottage core, or Anne of Green Gables – those romantic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves that will accidentally sweep your dining fork off the table and are a nightmare from an infection control point of view). But we’ve all had to do a lot of thinking over the past two years, and perhaps it will harness the kind of smarts you get when you can hold two uncomfortable narratives in your head at once. (It’s not a mask or a vaccine. It’s not the black and white, good-versus-evil thinking of conspiracy theorists, or even cancel culture. It can both be true that Woody Allen once made very likeable movies; you cannot enjoy them anymore.)

The country moved to orange traffic light setting as of midnight Wednesday, and various forms of mask requirement remain: they are no longer required of the public in hospitality venues, although public facing servers are still; disappointing, especially for the sake of our teachers, neither are they mandatory at schools although strongly encouraged; they remain a requirement in retail, public transport, and curiously (especially given the schools), at the vet. So as good as it feels to take it off at the end of the day, don’t be so quick to throw out your masks. Yet.

* The short version of the evidence regarding masks is that surgical or medical grade N95s are best and gold standard especially if you’re in proximity with people for long amounts of time, but ultimately the masks you actually wear are the most effective. At the time Crabb was contacted for comment, the wildly contagious Omicron had not been identified.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

OPINION: There from the beginning of the pandemic, it’s the mask, not the vaccine, that has really defined the cultural milieu. As they've developed their own etiquette and mores, increasingly they have more in common with accessories such as hats and gloves of the 19th century, than with a piece of medical inventory.

Kristine Crabb, formerly of Miss Crabb and now of Gloria, released the Macbeth mask in early November 2021, about the same time all three Auckland DHBs were closing in on 90% double vaccination rates, and amongst talk of opening up and dismantling borders - both those around our largest city and between us and the rest of the world.

A year earlier, this might have seemed like a curious time for a high-end fashion boutique to release their first ever rendition of a face mask – a vaccine had been previously touted as the one-way ticket to whisk us all away from our feverish nightmare

“It seemed like mask wearing would be a thing for some time,” says Crabb, “but these ones had a life after Covid also, which I just loved, as a beautiful fabric accessory and tie-on garment. I also felt this was quite a fresh take on the designer mask*.”

And we now know she was right. Earlier in the pandemic, mask production was a way for designers, grounded like everyone else due to lockdown, to make a contribution to the effort, with the added environmental bonus of using offcuts of signature prints.

Now, they weren’t going anywhere, and designers started playing with them. Also signalling the change from the disaster-communication of 2020s levels, to managing a chronic omnipresent threat was the traffic light system – and in bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease.

The very nature of public health measures means they often tread a tenuous line between public good and individual freedoms (taxes on cigarettes, seat belts, water fluoridation all being obvious and emotive examples). It is no surprise then – and has been said before – that countries who value the collective have done better in measures like death per capita than those who place a stronger cultural importance on personal freedoms.

Covid-19 also stumbled on a time of political and environmental upheaval, and once inoculated, each country brewed their own biological and social ferment. Perhaps, in retrospect, the science has been the easy part. But it is the latter that fashion thrives on.

It didn’t take long in the Covid-19 timeline for masks to become a symbol, at the extremes, of either civic duty or oppression. But either way, an icon for an invisible threat.

In bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease. Photo / Rob Tennent.

Masks have meant a lot of other things to various groups in the middle, too – differing over time. They had already cropped up on runways prior to Covid, usually as an anti-pollution sentiment. (And not for the first time: after the scientific discovery of dust, Parisian women wore veils in the 19th century.)

In the early days, you may or may not have worn one, as institutions lagged in their endorsements (the CDC in April 2020, followed by the WHO in June), before becoming associated with the idea of getting shit done in a world awash with virus – going to a workplace if you had to, the supermarket, arranging one’s affairs.

Others project dissent: Hong Kong protestors used masks to protect their identity on CCTV, and they became a compelling feature in the photo stream pouring out of the pre-vaccination-era Black Lives Matters protests, where they often served the dual purpose of communicating a deep, systemic, multi-generational pain. (Sadly but unsurprisingly less acknowledged, is that when BLM protests did not appear to correlate with spikes in infection, they made an important academic contribution to the scientific literature on the efficacy of masks, which took some time to come together in the early days of the pandemic.)

As time wore on, in countries overseas where people have felt let down by centralised, government responses to Covid-19 – or even similarly for people who disagree with the easing of restrictions – masks came to symbolise taking one’s health (and those around you) into one’s own hands.

But then. From mid-December and emerging from a three-month Auckland lockdown, a change in key: as hospitality, retail and delightful things tentatively opened back up, masks felt more like basic etiquette, manners. A way to be ushered from space to space, like from a foyer to a table in a restaurant, or like removing one’s coat.

It felt like we could, like Kristine Crabb, start to have a little fun with masks; come up with variants of our own. (There is a sort of vertically mounted and retractable highlighter pink visor on a notable Uber Eats driver delivering around central Auckland, which is a face shield, not a mask, and perhaps of dubious protection, but noteworthy nonetheless.)

There grew a noticeable intimacy – the kind fashion loves to play with – by way of the sheer novelty in seeing another’s bare face; usually associated with a meal. I changed frontline workplaces in late October, since which time all my colleagues have been wearing N95s around the clock, and have worked weeks alongside them, feeling very familiar in the company, before seeing their face over, say, a socially distanced coffee or lunch.

It’s akin to the surprise at meeting someone in person when you’re only well acquainted with their voice - like on the radio, for example. (What gives one the idea you might well have guessed their appearance?) Add to that the ubiquity of smartphone filters, even on something as utilitarian as zoom calls, and it feels increasingly rare to see someone’s IRL face.

And so, as masks transcend from medical inventory to garment, they come with their own manners and quirks, folded into social norms. Lipstick, more than ever, seems elevated due to both opportunity and setting. Eating with someone feels more intimate (and is). One can stifle a little yawn under a mask, but don’t be lulled into thinking it will hide an eye roll (which I have). Your iPhone can’t (or won’t) recognise you. I am both more self conscious of my crow’s feet, but also like the way that they convey a smile when my lips can’t.

After work, removing an N95 feels better than shedding any bra, any pair of tights, any heel. Summer presented a challenge: my friend Jean insists on reusable silk masks in the warmer months (such as these ones dyed with eco dyes, or these ones with recycled fabrics.) And when removing your masks to eat or drink, never, ever put it on the table.

The question of whether masks will stay within your wardrobes – in the side pocket of your bag, the glove compartment of your car – when the immediate threat (including omicron, which fostered a conservative swing in mask design back to clinical purity) is gone is a question predominantly for the West - in many parts of Asia, wearing a mask because either you are sick, or because of pollution has been normalised for some time, due to the SARS outbreak.

Would we wear them when they are not mandated? I am no germaphobe, but after the last two years, the idea of getting on public transport without one does seem odd. Certainly, donning one somewhere like a supermarket in winter seems sensible. Going to your doctor's office during flu season? It would seem absurd not to.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Photo / Rob Tennent

A lot has been written on the subject of how near-ubiquitous hats, like gloves, completely and sharply disappeared from public in the space of a few years. Most attribute it to John F. Kennedy,  who never wore one. But a more interesting theory is that once every household had its own car – replacing bus and train travel, and short walks in between the two – coupled with the advent of sunglasses and sunscreen, all negated the need for a hat outside of cultural or religious practices.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Covid will subside, of course, and become another one of our endemic seasonal illnesses. But there will always be a winter, and there will always be infectious diseases, and there could always be a role for masks. It is whether outside of a pandemic there is enough activation energy in the usual winter to make an immunocompetent person wear one. Or, after all of this, where New Zealand really ends up sitting on the spectrum of collectivism versus individualism, as compared to two years ago.

Much has been written about what vibe shift we can expect post pandemic, without committing to what that really is and why, more than to say we are lifting the cultural bell jar of the last two years of rolling lockdowns and (especially important in other parts of the world) grief, to find ourselves running in different directions out from the centre. (Distractingly for elder millennials, it does also seem we are for sure having our own youths handed to us as retro for the first time, by kids who are wearing it better and are astoundingly much, much better at makeup than we were).

Early Covid-19 was sweetly sincere, perhaps too much so for some (think cottage core, or Anne of Green Gables – those romantic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves that will accidentally sweep your dining fork off the table and are a nightmare from an infection control point of view). But we’ve all had to do a lot of thinking over the past two years, and perhaps it will harness the kind of smarts you get when you can hold two uncomfortable narratives in your head at once. (It’s not a mask or a vaccine. It’s not the black and white, good-versus-evil thinking of conspiracy theorists, or even cancel culture. It can both be true that Woody Allen once made very likeable movies; you cannot enjoy them anymore.)

The country moved to orange traffic light setting as of midnight Wednesday, and various forms of mask requirement remain: they are no longer required of the public in hospitality venues, although public facing servers are still; disappointing, especially for the sake of our teachers, neither are they mandatory at schools although strongly encouraged; they remain a requirement in retail, public transport, and curiously (especially given the schools), at the vet. So as good as it feels to take it off at the end of the day, don’t be so quick to throw out your masks. Yet.

* The short version of the evidence regarding masks is that surgical or medical grade N95s are best and gold standard especially if you’re in proximity with people for long amounts of time, but ultimately the masks you actually wear are the most effective. At the time Crabb was contacted for comment, the wildly contagious Omicron had not been identified.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

Don't be so quick to throw out your masks

OPINION: There from the beginning of the pandemic, it’s the mask, not the vaccine, that has really defined the cultural milieu. As they've developed their own etiquette and mores, increasingly they have more in common with accessories such as hats and gloves of the 19th century, than with a piece of medical inventory.

Kristine Crabb, formerly of Miss Crabb and now of Gloria, released the Macbeth mask in early November 2021, about the same time all three Auckland DHBs were closing in on 90% double vaccination rates, and amongst talk of opening up and dismantling borders - both those around our largest city and between us and the rest of the world.

A year earlier, this might have seemed like a curious time for a high-end fashion boutique to release their first ever rendition of a face mask – a vaccine had been previously touted as the one-way ticket to whisk us all away from our feverish nightmare

“It seemed like mask wearing would be a thing for some time,” says Crabb, “but these ones had a life after Covid also, which I just loved, as a beautiful fabric accessory and tie-on garment. I also felt this was quite a fresh take on the designer mask*.”

And we now know she was right. Earlier in the pandemic, mask production was a way for designers, grounded like everyone else due to lockdown, to make a contribution to the effort, with the added environmental bonus of using offcuts of signature prints.

Now, they weren’t going anywhere, and designers started playing with them. Also signalling the change from the disaster-communication of 2020s levels, to managing a chronic omnipresent threat was the traffic light system – and in bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease.

The very nature of public health measures means they often tread a tenuous line between public good and individual freedoms (taxes on cigarettes, seat belts, water fluoridation all being obvious and emotive examples). It is no surprise then – and has been said before – that countries who value the collective have done better in measures like death per capita than those who place a stronger cultural importance on personal freedoms.

Covid-19 also stumbled on a time of political and environmental upheaval, and once inoculated, each country brewed their own biological and social ferment. Perhaps, in retrospect, the science has been the easy part. But it is the latter that fashion thrives on.

It didn’t take long in the Covid-19 timeline for masks to become a symbol, at the extremes, of either civic duty or oppression. But either way, an icon for an invisible threat.

In bigger cities at least, masks became the norm overnight, with surprising ease. Photo / Rob Tennent.

Masks have meant a lot of other things to various groups in the middle, too – differing over time. They had already cropped up on runways prior to Covid, usually as an anti-pollution sentiment. (And not for the first time: after the scientific discovery of dust, Parisian women wore veils in the 19th century.)

In the early days, you may or may not have worn one, as institutions lagged in their endorsements (the CDC in April 2020, followed by the WHO in June), before becoming associated with the idea of getting shit done in a world awash with virus – going to a workplace if you had to, the supermarket, arranging one’s affairs.

Others project dissent: Hong Kong protestors used masks to protect their identity on CCTV, and they became a compelling feature in the photo stream pouring out of the pre-vaccination-era Black Lives Matters protests, where they often served the dual purpose of communicating a deep, systemic, multi-generational pain. (Sadly but unsurprisingly less acknowledged, is that when BLM protests did not appear to correlate with spikes in infection, they made an important academic contribution to the scientific literature on the efficacy of masks, which took some time to come together in the early days of the pandemic.)

As time wore on, in countries overseas where people have felt let down by centralised, government responses to Covid-19 – or even similarly for people who disagree with the easing of restrictions – masks came to symbolise taking one’s health (and those around you) into one’s own hands.

But then. From mid-December and emerging from a three-month Auckland lockdown, a change in key: as hospitality, retail and delightful things tentatively opened back up, masks felt more like basic etiquette, manners. A way to be ushered from space to space, like from a foyer to a table in a restaurant, or like removing one’s coat.

It felt like we could, like Kristine Crabb, start to have a little fun with masks; come up with variants of our own. (There is a sort of vertically mounted and retractable highlighter pink visor on a notable Uber Eats driver delivering around central Auckland, which is a face shield, not a mask, and perhaps of dubious protection, but noteworthy nonetheless.)

There grew a noticeable intimacy – the kind fashion loves to play with – by way of the sheer novelty in seeing another’s bare face; usually associated with a meal. I changed frontline workplaces in late October, since which time all my colleagues have been wearing N95s around the clock, and have worked weeks alongside them, feeling very familiar in the company, before seeing their face over, say, a socially distanced coffee or lunch.

It’s akin to the surprise at meeting someone in person when you’re only well acquainted with their voice - like on the radio, for example. (What gives one the idea you might well have guessed their appearance?) Add to that the ubiquity of smartphone filters, even on something as utilitarian as zoom calls, and it feels increasingly rare to see someone’s IRL face.

And so, as masks transcend from medical inventory to garment, they come with their own manners and quirks, folded into social norms. Lipstick, more than ever, seems elevated due to both opportunity and setting. Eating with someone feels more intimate (and is). One can stifle a little yawn under a mask, but don’t be lulled into thinking it will hide an eye roll (which I have). Your iPhone can’t (or won’t) recognise you. I am both more self conscious of my crow’s feet, but also like the way that they convey a smile when my lips can’t.

After work, removing an N95 feels better than shedding any bra, any pair of tights, any heel. Summer presented a challenge: my friend Jean insists on reusable silk masks in the warmer months (such as these ones dyed with eco dyes, or these ones with recycled fabrics.) And when removing your masks to eat or drink, never, ever put it on the table.

The question of whether masks will stay within your wardrobes – in the side pocket of your bag, the glove compartment of your car – when the immediate threat (including omicron, which fostered a conservative swing in mask design back to clinical purity) is gone is a question predominantly for the West - in many parts of Asia, wearing a mask because either you are sick, or because of pollution has been normalised for some time, due to the SARS outbreak.

Would we wear them when they are not mandated? I am no germaphobe, but after the last two years, the idea of getting on public transport without one does seem odd. Certainly, donning one somewhere like a supermarket in winter seems sensible. Going to your doctor's office during flu season? It would seem absurd not to.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Photo / Rob Tennent

A lot has been written on the subject of how near-ubiquitous hats, like gloves, completely and sharply disappeared from public in the space of a few years. Most attribute it to John F. Kennedy,  who never wore one. But a more interesting theory is that once every household had its own car – replacing bus and train travel, and short walks in between the two – coupled with the advent of sunglasses and sunscreen, all negated the need for a hat outside of cultural or religious practices.

Without a practical purpose, it doesn't take long for an accessory to be unpicked from common usage. Covid will subside, of course, and become another one of our endemic seasonal illnesses. But there will always be a winter, and there will always be infectious diseases, and there could always be a role for masks. It is whether outside of a pandemic there is enough activation energy in the usual winter to make an immunocompetent person wear one. Or, after all of this, where New Zealand really ends up sitting on the spectrum of collectivism versus individualism, as compared to two years ago.

Much has been written about what vibe shift we can expect post pandemic, without committing to what that really is and why, more than to say we are lifting the cultural bell jar of the last two years of rolling lockdowns and (especially important in other parts of the world) grief, to find ourselves running in different directions out from the centre. (Distractingly for elder millennials, it does also seem we are for sure having our own youths handed to us as retro for the first time, by kids who are wearing it better and are astoundingly much, much better at makeup than we were).

Early Covid-19 was sweetly sincere, perhaps too much so for some (think cottage core, or Anne of Green Gables – those romantic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves that will accidentally sweep your dining fork off the table and are a nightmare from an infection control point of view). But we’ve all had to do a lot of thinking over the past two years, and perhaps it will harness the kind of smarts you get when you can hold two uncomfortable narratives in your head at once. (It’s not a mask or a vaccine. It’s not the black and white, good-versus-evil thinking of conspiracy theorists, or even cancel culture. It can both be true that Woody Allen once made very likeable movies; you cannot enjoy them anymore.)

The country moved to orange traffic light setting as of midnight Wednesday, and various forms of mask requirement remain: they are no longer required of the public in hospitality venues, although public facing servers are still; disappointing, especially for the sake of our teachers, neither are they mandatory at schools although strongly encouraged; they remain a requirement in retail, public transport, and curiously (especially given the schools), at the vet. So as good as it feels to take it off at the end of the day, don’t be so quick to throw out your masks. Yet.

* The short version of the evidence regarding masks is that surgical or medical grade N95s are best and gold standard especially if you’re in proximity with people for long amounts of time, but ultimately the masks you actually wear are the most effective. At the time Crabb was contacted for comment, the wildly contagious Omicron had not been identified.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.