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Brian Schmetzer has a message: Wear your mask

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Sounders head coach doesn’t understand why so many seem to be reluctant to perform a very simple task.

Hans Steele / Sounders FC Communications

Ever since COVID-19 dramatically altered all of our lives back in March, we’ve been yearning to get back to a sense of normalcy. With Seattle and King County officially moving into Phase 2 of the state’s “Safe Start” process, it’s been tempting to feel as though we’re on our way. Just looking around, you can see more people out and about, going to restaurants and resuming social activity that had been shelved for three months.

But anyone paying attention is also seeing the warning signs. Cases are up across the state, and not just because testing is also on the rise.

While these are worrying trends, the good news is that we have learned some things about the way COVID-19 spreads that should make this wave more manageable than the first and it starts with us.

The most obvious way we can slow the spread is by being smart about when and where we go out. Primarily, that means to avoid gathering in groups indoors. Secondarily, and perhaps more relevantly for anyone who hopes to attend a soccer match in person before there’s widespread vaccination, wear a mask.

To help illustrate the importance of wearing a mask during a recent video conference with reporters, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer held up a fan-made one he’s been wearing to help illustrate the point.

“I’m concerned that there’s not enough people in this country that understand that wearing a mask is actually a good thing,” Schmetzer said. “It amazes me that people think that it’s an infringement of their rights.”

Mask wearing is not going to completely halt the spread of COVID-19, but there’s growing evidence that even simple face coverings will slow it enough to keep us from needing to be shut entirely indoors in the meantime. If we can get wide enough adoption of this simple step, it’s at least possible that we might get to a point where a lot of life is feeling like normal.

Being able to attend soccer matches in person is rightfully way down on the priority list when it comes to the effects of COVID-19 on society. But it is one more sign of returning to normalcy. At the very least, we should all assume that if we can attend matches in person, it will only happen if we agree to show up to CenturyLink Field wearing a mask. In the meantime, we should consider wearing one in public practice for that eventuality.