A piece of textile that has become an indispensable part of office life: Monday the mask is officially no longer required in business, for some a relief, for others an annoyance.
Faced with Covid-19, this protection was imposed on companies on September 1, 2020. The health protocol – reference document in light of the virus – that “disappears” on Monday, on the condition that it “be carried out systematically within companies in the closed assembly areas”.
In view of the deterioration on the health front, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced in early March that from March 14 “end of wearing a mandatory mask in all places where it is still”, including in the workplace, will apply.
However, employers, concerned about their liability being seized, may continue to apply the mask if they believe there is “a specific risk due to the activity,” said social law lawyers interviewed by AFP. . For example, lawyer Déborah David believes that maintaining it for “a reasonable period of time” would be “legitimate”.
Nevertheless, the end of the obligation for companies included in the protocol is a relief.
“It’s really a huge expectation of people’s impatience. They can’t take it anymore! We feel it’s really suffering,” said Benoit Serre, vice president of the National Association of HRDs. He himself, “arriving at L’Oréal less than a year ago”, has never seen the full faces of certain colleagues.
He believes that as a result “this will help revive the sociability”. In fact, because the mask is “a real symbol,” removing it can be compared to “removing the pandemic,” he says… as he slips that he hopes not to see it again in three months.
As for vulnerable workers who could become more visible, Benoit Serre assures that it will become an “individual” management: “the mask was mandatory for everyone, we do not say: the + without a mask + is mandatory for everyone in the world”.
For Corentin Boulanger, responsible for occupational health and safety prevention in the agri-food industry in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, who wore a mask in the office for two years, “it was complicated”. Difficulty “expressing oneself, making oneself understood”, it was something “relatively unpleasant”, he says, “honestly” glad it stopped.
This is the tone of many posts on social networks: “Finally the end of the mask at work, it was hell”, “The return of freedom”, another says he is impatient to “finish this damn story “.
But Paul, an automotive consultant in Paris, considers it “not possible” to lift the obligation given the health situation and regrets a “purely political” decision. “It can start again,” fears this fifty-year-old.
As for the ability to keep the mask, he insists it’s “useless if the person in front isn’t wearing one.” Posts on social networks thus regard their withdrawal as “selfish” or condemn “a middle finger” to the immunocompromised.
Internet users have more prosaic concerns: knowing how to hide their “big yawns during meetings”, relearning to “smile with the mouth and not just with the eyes”, “recall the joys of stinking breath and sputtering”…
In addition to “a certain relief, more comfort” for employees, Elisabeth Pélegrin-Genel, architect and occupational psychologist, wonders: “Does the end of the mask mean that we forget this kind of bubble? person we always had with us while we a distance from others?”
The mask had “literally and figuratively a protective effect” and “gave a kind of intimacy,” she emphasizes.
Once used to wearing it, the mask had become “a mini-victory over the permanent visibility of everything and everyone,” she continues. “Won’t we miss him?”.