This is the story about performing at a 3rd birthday party, after months of cancellations due to Covid-19. Do I wear a mask or not?
I was shocked, happy, and quick to respond to a father emailing me to see if I would make balloons at his daughter’s 3rd birthday party.
“Yes, and can we talk more details about your event? Please call me,” was my email response.
Three days past and Thursday midafternoon, I get a call. Its the father responding to my email and would like to hire me for the party the very next day.
The private party was for seven children, all between three and six, along with eleven adults. During the phone call, not one question or comment is made about social distancing or masks.
On the day of the event, I question my self on, “How should I handle the mask and social distancing between adults and kids?”
My Decision, Right or Wrong
I was going to wear a mask and bring a sandblasting face shield. This way, I can place the shield on the child’s face if they stand close, or I can wear the face shield myself.
I arrive at the birthday party and it a beautiful hot summer day. Everyone is in swimsuits and are out back in the built-in pool.
Here I stand, overdressed from head to toe. I’m wearing a mask, a shirt with a vest, black dress pants, and 85 degrees outside.
The birthday was a mask free party, social distancing for non-family members, mainly me, were being observed. Overall, it was a typical family gathering.
The Kid’s Reaction
I greeted the six-year-old wearing a mask, and my years of entertaining told me she was not comfortable with a masked-man in her back yard.
I removed my mask and gave her a smile and wave. Her puzzled look instantly transformed into a warm smile. I looked around the backyard and, at that moment, made the personal decision that I felt safe enough not to wear a mask or shield.
Call it peer pressure, being outside, size of the party, or just feeling comfortable. I chose not to wear a mask. I did my best to make physical distancing with everyone at the party.
I’ve never felt out of place being dressed as an entertainer and walking among the general population. Yet, wearing a mask while others didn’t subconsciously put pressure on me as I wanted to be like everyone else at the party. I cannot say for sure if this was why I removed my mask, but I did.
My plan is simple. Wear a mask to all events and bring my face shield. At the party, I will do a safety assessment of my environment and make my decision on how I need to protect myself and my audience.