Public use of face masks has been a common practice in China and other nations in Asia since before the coronavirus outbreak. Now, as the United States is facing increased numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, the CDC is urging Americans to wear masks too. At Valor Hospitality Partners, we are dedicated to providing a clean, safe, and welcoming environment for our guests – that’s why we’re taking extra measures to educate our team on the benefits of proper mask use.
Recent studies have shown that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity – for example, speaking, coughing, sneezing – even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms (Source).
In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. They stress that the advisory applies to cloth masks — including homemade masks — not hospital-grade surgical masks and N95 masks.
Though a cloth mask alone is unlikely to prevent you from inhaling microscopic virus particles, it will provide a bit of respiratory protection, which can reduce depositing of droplets of the virus on surfaces and to people near you. The CDC’s website has information on how to make face coverings from everyday household items.
Bottom line: Wearing a mask should be used as an additional voluntary public health measure. It acts as one more layer of protection to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe. But, masks are not a replacement for all the other steps we need to take right now to protect ourselves from the coronavirus — especially social distancing and good hand hygiene.
Tell Us: How are you safely navigating public spaces during COVID-19?