Wearing a cloth mask shows you care about others

With Florida businesses reopening, it’s more important than ever wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth when in public areas where you cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others at all times. This is particularly important in grocery stores. The store employees are exposed to hundreds of people every day. There is no way to know just how many of those customers might be COVID-19 positive and have no symptoms. If the customers wear masks, it helps protect those store employees from the virus. In addition, customers help protect each other from the virus by wearing masks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. According to the CDC, studies and evidence on infection control report that these droplets usually travel around 6 feet (about two arm’s lengths).

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. Cloth face coverings slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

Wearing a mask and social distancing is not about taking away your personal liberty, an Okeechobee pastor told his online congregation on Sunday. It’s about protecting others, about being considerate of others. It’s an example of “loving thy neighbor.”

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Your cloth mask protects others from you. Their cloth mask protects you from them.

Wearing a cloth mask means you are putting the safety of others above your own desire to be comfortable. But you get something out of it, too, because wearing a mask can also help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and that benefits everyone. If you want businesses reopened, if you want life to return to “normal,” wearing a mask whenever you enter a public building can help make that happen sooner.

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