You can’t unring a bell. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. And, I doubt you’ll be able to put masks back on people’s faces.

Some of you might be surprised that the remasking of America is even a topic of conversation, but alas, it is because of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

For the most part, everything I’ve learned about this new variant has basically said “if you’re vaccinated, you’ll be fine.”

This may come as a shock to some, but I’m no expert on infectious diseases. So, take my advice on that front like I was only slightly more informed on the topic than your neighbor who is always trying to sell you essential oils or healing crystals.

That said, most news sources say the scientific community seems to be in agreement on the efficacy of vaccines against all of the variants of COVID-19, and I’m going to stick with science.

The emergence of this new variant, which is said to be more transmissible than other versions of COVID-19, has brought us back to the same place we were about a year and a half ago when we had to start making some tough decisions.

We have to decide if we go back to using masks in public, if we shut down and send everybody home again in an attempt to let the virus die out, if we ignore it and hope for the best, or a combination of all three.

First, I don’t mind wearing a mask should it be deemed necessary for me to do so. Right now I don’t. I went and got vaccinated, and I’ve been told that’s enough. The question I have for myself about masks is the next time I get a cold, am I going to wear one in the office or will I be able to work from home?

Masks have been proven to help slow the transmission of germs and I hope they stick around, but I’m not optimistic that they will. People have an ingrained selfishness to them. It’s probably a leftover survival instinct. Those tendencies are fine when it’s me vs. you, but they fall short and create problems when it’s us vs. a virus.

Do we need another shutdown? A better question would be could we survive one?

This time around we have a vaccine and that drastically changes the dynamics, because it gives an individual a way to protect themselves that doesn’t rely on the cooperation of employers and governments to take actions like mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, or allowing for telework.

I could argue that an employer or government has a duty to take whatever actions are necessary to ensure the safety of the general public, but I can also see why they shouldn’t and why that responsibility should rest solely with the individual.

While it would be a bad idea to ignore this new variant and simply hope for the best, I don’t think there are enough people who would abide by another mask mandate or stay-at-home order to justify the use of them.

So, while I don’t support a government-mandated stay-at-home order or mask mandate, I have no problem with an employer requiring their workforce to be vaccinated, because it’s the closest thing to a balanced solution we’ve got.

If an employer mandates that you must be vaccinated to work there, the individual retains some independence because they can choose not to work there if they don’t want to be vaccinated.

I realize for some people that’s not a good choice, but any choice is better than no choice, which is what you get when state and local governments get involved.

We’ll probably never live in a world free of sickness or thousands of other malicious elements that are trying to kill you. So, waking up every day and having the ability to decide to do what you do is the best we can hope for on a good day.

At least when it comes to the Delta variant of COVID-19 we have the tools that allow us to decide for ourselves what level of precautions we want to take and if our job, our relationships, our existence is worth doing that day.

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