Contradictory Covid Protocols

Senior+Kailyn+Kings+shops+at+Forever+21+in+Montgomery+Mall+in+September%2C+following+mask+protocols.

Photo by Kailyn King

Senior Kailyn Kings shops at Forever 21 in Montgomery Mall in September, following mask protocols.

Throughout this pandemic, Maryland has issued a number of Covid guidelines to help prevent a rise in cases as well as increase safety. Many of these protocols seem more contradictory instead of helpful.

For example, store owners and managers tend to close all the doors in a store except for one. This may at first present a way to keep track of how many customers enter and exit the store, but it also makes people more prone to virus risks because they all have to use the same entrance, causing crowds. “I don’t like how stores close all the doors because then people won’t be socially distanced when going in or coming out, and everyone is swarmed together, being unsafe since no one can be six feet apart at all times,” senior Kailyn King said.

It is important to maintain cleanliness and disinfect areas of stores to kill germs, but countless stores require employees to clean all surfaces multiple times a day, which seems excessive. “From personal experience, when we were required to clean store surfaces up to four to five times a day, it was a waste of a lot of cleaning products, which grows very costly and could be reduced,” senior Beatriz Kim said.

I think it’s great that stores covered machines in plastic, but the risk from everyone touching the same machine still exists since they never clean off the plastic after each use.”

— Rizel Serrano

Plenty of stores and restaurants offer machines for customers to use credit cards to pay. Since the pandemic began, the machines have been covered in plastic to prevent spread of bacteria, which is rendered completely useless unless they’re wiped off between customers. “I think it’s great that stores covered machines in plastic, but the risk from everyone touching the same machine still exists since they never clean off the plastic after each use,” junior Rizel Serrano said.

People may use gloves when they go shopping, which prevents hand-on-surface contact when touching products, but when the same gloves are used to touch everything, they still spread germs. “It is necessary for people to change their gloves often or touch as little as they can, otherwise there is no point in wearing gloves because they still come in contact with multiple items and areas,” King said.

One of the most important virus prevention products has been wearing masks in public, but with shortages and high prices in buying masks, people like to reuse masks countless times, which makes them less effective with each use. “People should change their masks frequently because touching masks and not cleaning them off is irresponsible,” sophomore Ryan Lim said.

Virus prevention regulations can be understandably hard to determine during unprecedented times and not 100% effective, but regardless, experts should suggest protocols that make the community safer.