Wondering Why People Wear Masks Outside? Here are Three Understandable Reasons

Published: October 22, 2020  

Despite all of our Snapchat stories and trips to see friends, we can’t avoid the fact that cases of COVID-19 are once again on the rise. If you tune in to the news or watch the numbers climb online, our guts are stirred anew with nervousness about the future. Reporters and medical experts are warning us of a long winter ahead.

For that reason, folks might start to wonder, “should I wear a mask outside?” Everyone has their reasons to do so. People with a compromised system will find their masks outside as a blanket of protection from the dangers they can’t see.

Then you have the others on the sideline pondering why in the hell that person is riding a bike down a mountain, alone, with a mask on?

There are infinite possibilities of influences that make us do all sorts of things, especially during a global pandemic. But that doesn’t keep us from wondering what the hell everyone, besides our perfect selves, is doing.

We all need a little insight from time to time. That’s why I asked some of my friends, family, and social media following if they wear a mask outside and the reason for it. Let’s check out what they had to say, eh?

Why People Wear Masks Outside

  • They Live Way Too Close to Others

  • Masks Help Reduce Allergies and Air Pollution Symptoms

  • Airborne Risk and Microdroplets Pose a Risk to Some

Cue GOT, ‘cause I know all of you are thinking it- “winter is coming!”

People Wear Masks Outside Because They Know They Can’t Stay Six Feet Away

“I wear a mask outside because I live in an area where the probability of passing by someone less than six feet away from me is high. I don’t want to pose a risk for myself from strangers who may have COVID-19. So, I do my part by wearing a mask outside; although I don’t enjoy it, I know it’s something I have to do for the safety of others and myself.” – Neepa from New Orleans, LA

Neepa is one of the people we’ll remember in fifty years as silent heroes amongst agitators. Sure, masks are annoying AF but in a big city, she can’t be alone on a mountain. If you can’t stay six feet away, a mask is recommended by the CDC.

Masks Help Reduce Allergies and Air Pollution Symptoms

Achoo Allergy (cute name, guys) tells us that if you should wear a mask outside, that annoying thing over your face may actually behave in a similar manner compared to air purifiers. The filter or weaved threads in the mask catch tiny particles and virus-holding pollutants as you take breaths in and out.

Considering air pollution at a crazy level due to wildfires scaring those on the west coast and allergies during the summer months bothering the noses of many, these masks can serve as a personal air purifier that follows you no matter where you venture.

Knowing that a mask traps bothersome allergy particles and air pollutants you can understand why some people wear masks outside.

Airborne Risk and Microdroplets Pose a Risk to Some Individuals

I’d be lying to you all (and my Mom reads this, so I wouldn’t lie) if I didn’t admit to one thing. As soon as this all began, I told my boyfriend, “I bet this is airborne, but they don’t want to tell us.”

I wore my masks indoors before it was mandated. I got weird looks, yeah. But we were living in a hotel and I knew the rhetoric around the new virus seemed to point to the fact that the germs tend to linger in the air for a few hours, even after a person left a room.

Now, Healthline.com tells us that exact truth. According to the CDC, you can spread the virus through airborne transmission. Indoors, the risk is obviously higher. If you’re outside, though, the particles disperse at a higher rate. 

The website states these particles can linger in the air for a few minutes to hours. By wearing PPE, like a face covering, they can reduce these pesky, small assholes from going in your nose and mouth.

So even though people are outside, alone, wearing a mask, they’re still protecting themselves from the particles that might still be hanging out waiting for you to suck them up with a huge breath.

Bonus FAQ: Why Do People Wear Masks in their Car, Alone?

People seemed to have forgotten about ride shares now that they aren’t taking them to nightclubs and then back home again in the wee hours of the morning. GUYS! Hello, they’re Uber/Lyft drivers much? You know how much a rating matters, especially now with COVID practices being judged, too. They’ve got to keep those bad boys glued to their faces, even when they don’t have passengers, to keep their car virus-free.

In 2020, I find myself consistently wondering why people do the things they do. But then I have to check myself. I say to myself, “Carrie Jean, it’s 2020… you don’t need to understand why they do it. People have their reasons that you may not ever understand.”

But that doesn’t mean I can’t ask. I’m just not here to judge. Maybe now when you see someone wearing a mask outside, you can remember this post and think, everyone has their reasons and it’s not for you to figure out.


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