“It’s simply more practical”

In Bordeaux, in the Sainte-Catherine shopping street on June 24.

© valentino belloni
In Bordeaux, in the Sainte-Catherine shopping street on June 24.

“I got out of the metro and forgot to remove it” : for Léna, a 19-year-old law student, keeping her mask in the street is more automatic than a desire to protect against the virus. While the lifting of the obligation to wear a mask outdoors has caused many French people to feel “release”, some find it difficult to shake off this ingrained habit. “We’ve been living masked for months, it’s complicated to lose the reflex so quickly”, comments Tom, Lena’s friend.

For many others, continue to wear a mask outside, “c‘is simply more practical’. This is what Jérôme thinks, a 32-year-old electrician who prefers to keep his mask outside rather than spending his days removing it and putting it back on when he enters a business or takes public transport. An opinion that Sophia, a 43-year-old editor, shares: for her, no question of “wear your mask under your chin to lift it up whenever necessary».

“A threat to be taken seriously”

The risk represented by the progression of the delta variant in France also pushes the most cautious to maintain barrier gestures. The reconfinement of the city of Sydney as well as the epidemic outbreak facing Russia or England worried Jules, a student in an engineering school. For him, “the delta variant is a threat to be taken seriously»If we do not want to undergo a new wave of contamination: he will therefore continue to wear his mask outdoors at least until the administration of his second dose of vaccine. A threat that also worries Christian, a 48-year-old English teacher, who will not remove his mask as long as the health situation does not appear to him “completely mastered».

In some of the most vulnerable, the fear of catching the virus is still very much in people’s minds, even when they are vaccinated. Colette, a 74-year-old retiree who has received her second dose for several months now, continues to apply barrier gestures very strictly and therefore to wear a mask outdoors. She does not want to take the slightest risk of catching the Covid: “Even though I am vaccinated, I am afraid of the effects the virus could have on me.” The masks therefore seem to have left to remain present in the public space for some time yet.

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