During the past year, many have become accustomed to wearing mandatory face coverings and maintaining good hygiene in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, with the increasing number of people getting vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had lifted mask mandates for vaccinated individuals. This announcement was exceptional news for some, as it meant there had been considerable progress in controlling the number of coronavirus cases. During a recent visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, I was able to see for myself how Covid-19 has become a growing clement issue for many people due to this change.
The majority of the people at Knott’s Berry Farm resembled the pre-Covid life we used to live. While there was an unmistakably smaller percentage of people that continued to wear face coverings, most people could be seen enjoying their visits without them. Walking around without being directed by tape lines, socializing, and waiting in packed lines for rides seemed normal and was also a stark contrast against the enforced six feet of social distance that was commonplace throughout the entirety of quarantine. As people are trusting the science behind vaccines, it seems they feel safer to be in large population gatherings without a mask.
As a fully vaccinated individual who hadn’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm since the start of quarantine, I was surprised to see so many people maskless. Even though I was shocked upon entering, I was reassured by the numerous sanitization stations placed around the park. Along with this, I noticed that nearly everyone still kept to his or her group and created a generally safe situation as a whole. Knott’s Berry Farm also enforced a strict reservation policy, where one-day general tickets could only be bought for a specific day and would not provide valid entry on any other time than that chosen upon purchase. Throughout my visit, I still felt the need to avoid unnecessary contact without a mask with others in close proximity. However, I definitely felt safer knowing I was vaccinated, and only made conscious choices to protect myself further. A friend who I went with to the amusement park remarked that they personally preferred not having to wear a mask since they, too, felt safer after being vaccinated.
At this point, it is still undoubtedly clear that the coronavirus has not been eradicated. People that haven’t been vaccinated and others that are part of the high-risk categories are still at danger of serious health consequences. However, with science backing the effectiveness of vaccines, it is a good sign that many are getting vaccinated and feeling more protected as a result.
Gina Kim, Grade 11