Mask Fatigue Hits America: Workers Cite Headaches, Anxiety

Diana Rivero stands behind a partial protective plastic screen and wears a mask and gloves as she works as a cashier at the Presidente Supermarket on April 13, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The employees at Presidente Supermarket, like the rest of America's grocery store workers, are on the front lines …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Widespread mask mandates are beginning to weigh heavily on workers across America, some of whom say the hours-long shifts in face coverings are affecting their physical health.

The majority of states across the nation have some form of a statewide mask mandate. Even in those that do not, many cities and counties, as well as businesses such as Target, Walmart, and Walgreens, have instituted mask mandates at the local level.

“Some people who are forced to wear face masks all day in the workplace complain of headaches, shortness of breath and anxiety,” CBS DFW reported, detailing the experiences of employees of the Southern Sisters Salon in McKinney, Texas, who have been wearing masks for months.

“When I have long days, if it’s a 12 hour day, I’m sick when I get home,” Courtney Warnell said, adding that she gets “sick” to her stomach.

“As soon as I get in the car, I’m pulling it off and I don’t want to do anything else. I just want to go home and be mask-free,” she continued.

“Like a lot of workplaces in North Texas, masks are mandatory, but for some of those forced to wear them, they are miserable,” the outlet added.

Mask-wearing remains a hot button topic both nationwide and in local communities. Skeptics point to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director’s remarks in March.

“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” Fauci said earlier this year before modifying his position.

Now Fauci not only advocates masks, but eye protection as well.

“If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” Fauci told ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, this week.

“You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,” he continued. “Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an eye shield you should use it.”

Notably, Fauci broke his own rules last week after throwing the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ season opener. Photos show a gleeful Fauci with a mask hanging around his chin. He was also not social distancing as recommended, despite an abundance of seats in the empty arena:

While D.C.’s mask mandate exempts “on duty” lawmakers and government employees, Fauci was not demonstratively “on duty” at the game, driving further questions on enforcement of the order.


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