Written by Quintin Coetzee. Visit Quintin’s LinkedIn page and personal website.

I stopped by a local mall in Constantia (Cape Town, South Africa) yesterday to pick up a few grocery items, and I was greeted by a sign near the elevators.

Firstly, the mall is making sure customers know about the South African National Government’s mask mandate (which is enforceable in any public spaces and can get you fined or imprisoned for contravention- something some see as draconian but I unwaveringly agree with because of the benefits to public health).

But secondly, the mall has a very commonsense policy against eating and drinking indoors. This isn’t something I’ve seen at all shopping centers, and in fact, I often see folks walking around centers drinking or eating. And naturally, the masks come off for this, which is a huge hole in the attempts we’re making to keep each other safe.

Well, my commendations to Constantia Emporium and all other malls that, like it, are telling customers to wait until they get home, or at least into their cars, before taking their masks off to consume anything they bought. Yes, it is nice to do that while walking around a mall looking at things. But those days are unfortunately not yet back with us. We have to remain vigilant and stay as safe as possible, so that we can beat this pandemic as soon as possible.

Do your part, and soon enough we’ll all be able to drink coffee and browse through throw cushions in a homeware store. Until then, stay safe!