Masking is a hot topic in today’s world. Why should we have to wear them? Is my mask going to protect me? Do homemade masks work? Where can I find masks? The time has come for us all to face the fact that masking is the new normal. It is our responsibility to take steps to make sure that we are informed and educated on this topic. Let’s address some of the top questions and concerns of masking.
Who and Why?
The Center for Disease control has recommended, “Wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain especially in areas of significant community based transmission.” As of today, Thursday July 16, the city of Springfield has put in place a citywide face covering/masking ordinance. This ordinance will remain until October 14, 2020 unless it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended.
Some important things to know about this new ordinance are:
- Face covering/ mask is any device that covers the nose and mouth.
- Reusable and disposable masks and face shields are permitted.
- Social distancing should still be practiced, as masks are not a substitute.
- Applicable to any person over the age of 11. However, ages 3-11 are strongly encouraged.
- Exemptions include Health conditions that prevent wearing a mask. Hearing impaired individuals and those communicating to the hearing impaired.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread, even before symptoms appear, by speaking at a close range, coughing or sneezing. By wearing a mask, you are using an infection control strategy to eliminate cross-contamination and decreasing the risk of spreading the virus. In addition to wearing a mask, it is important to remember to, wash your hands and maintain safe social distancing to further decrease the risk of spread.
What kind and what works?
Any mask is better than no mask at all. Store bought, homemade, non-disposable, disposable, there are many options. Sometimes we may have to improvise with what we can find to do the job, such as a scarf or bandana.
The CDC suggests when choosing a mask to keep these suggestions in mind:
- Make sure it has enough material to completely cover both your nose and your mouth.
- Masks should be comfortable but fit snugly against the side of the face.
- It can be secured with ties or ear loops
- It includes multiple layers of fabric
- It allows for breathing without restriction
- It can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to its shape
It is very important to handle your mask correctly. Wash your hands before and after putting on the mask. Make sure both your nose and mouth are covered. When you are wearing your mask do not touch the front of the mask. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing it. When taking it off, be sure to handle it by the ear loops or ties.
When and Where?
Masks are to be worn anytime that you are out in public; a few examples are, the grocery store, or other retail establishment, riding in an elevator, walking around spaces open to the public, and standing in line.
You are not required to wear a mask when:
- outdoors and able to maintain a distance of at least 6ft from others
- exercising outdoors or indoors and able to maintain a 6ft distance
- at a swimming pool
- at home with only members of your household
- in your vehicle
- actively eating or drinking, or once seated and adequately spaced for others at a food establishment
- getting a service that requires the temporary removal of a mask, such as the dentist
- removal of the mask is necessary to confirm identity
- at your place of work in non-public areas, for example your office.
Wearing a mask might be seen as an inconvenience but it is important to remember that it is a very necessary public health measure. Wearing a mask is a simple and effective way to protect our family, friends, and community.
Think of it as the top fashion accessory of summer and fall and get creative with it!
For more detailed information regarding the CDC recommendations and the City of Springfield Mask ordinance please click on the following links: