Mandating Masks

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“Face masks have become the emblem of COVID-19,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. As of Tuesday, 16 states and the District of Columbia are requiring face masks worn in public.

While coronavirus cases continue to surge across Florida, a group of state lawmakers is urging Gov. DeSantis to make face masks mandatory to help slow the spread of the virus.

According to the latest data from the Florida Department of Health, Florida is averaging 3,300 new cases a day for the past seven days. A new daily record was just set with more than 5,500 new cases. Florida Surgeon General, Scott Rivkees issued a public health advisory, “that all individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.”

Many counties and cities across the state have orders requiring face masks in public. Some of them include the following but are not limited to, Broward, Leon, Gadsden, Miami-Dade, Miami, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Aventura, the Florida Keys, Key Biscayne and Hialeah.

Earlier guidance from US officials did not recommend the widespread wearing of masks. However, in April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended face coverings for the general public in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain such as grocery stores.

However, wearing a face mask is a continuous subject. Evidence is seen across the country, with a maskless man fighting to get into a Walmart, to a Dollar Tree employee killed over the enforcement of wearing a mask.  Face masks for many represent political conflict, a debate over disease vs. the economy, or the threat of loosing your freedom. Some people find them hard to breathe in or do not like them because of sensory issues.

“Even though pandemic fatigue has set in, we are required to make sacrifices during this time for the health of others in our state,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Public health officials have emphasized the importance of face coverings while states, re-open, given that people who are asymptomatic could unknowingly transmit COVID-19. The coverings are primarily to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips for wearing masks

  • Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
  • Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
  • If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
  • Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask
  • Regularly wash your mask with soap and water in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.

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