Judy Winn, 65, of Ramona considers herself lucky. She edits photos for a living -- a job she’s been able to do from home during the pandemic.
She said she is considered high-risk for COVID-19 because she is overweight and has asthma, so she was extremely careful during the pandemic and got her first shot of the vaccine in February.
Although she is fully vaccinated now, Winn said she will continue to wear her mask indoors at places like grocery stores.
“I think I just want to wait a little bit longer or have a little more information come out before removing my mask in indoor situations,” she said.
Jessica Smith, 35, of Santee, works as a paralegal, and also worked from home during the pandemic. She has a young daughter.
Like Winn, Smith is fully vaccinated but will continue to wear her mask outdoors past June 15 at places like playgrounds.
“There are young kids who can't get vaccinated or are not old enough to,” she said. “So I just would do that out of respect for them and their families.”
William Tseng, M.D., is an internal medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. He said high-risk patients should consider wearing their masks indefinitely.
“The people that are really at risk are the ones that are immunosuppressed,” said Dr. Tseng. “So either because of cancer or because of organ transplant or just because of immunity issues, they are on steroids, high dose steroids. Those patients remain at risk. They don't get as much protection with vaccination. About 50% after the second dose.”
Dr. Tseng said mask-wearing could also become more acceptable for preventing things like the common cold.
“It may be that certain populations decide to wear a mask and that’s ok. Again, during times of infections like in wintertime with the flu, I think that may be something that may continue.,' he said.
Besides medical reasons, masks have given some a break from social expectations. Smith said she's grown to enjoy being hidden behind her mask.
“I don't have any men telling me to smile anymore, so that's kind of nice,” she said with a laugh. “It kind of feels like a security blanket. You can't really see what I look like. I wear big glasses and a mask so you can't really see me. I feel invisible in public, which I prefer.”