Important COVID-19 Updates and Mask Information
We all want businesses, employees, and customers to be safe, and together we can continue to work on increasing COVID-19 awareness and prevention by following best practices.
COVID-19 is on the rise. As the number of cases continue to increase, the probability of additional restrictions and/or closures increases. Additional restrictions and/or closures are based on the following disease metrics:
- County level epidemiological curve (incidence of new cases)
- Percent of cases attributable to the risk factor referred to as “community spread”
- Daily lab testing volume
- Percent of positive test results
- Running two-week average of percentage of total tests that are positive
- Age group data
- Number of cases recovered
While the DDA has done some engagement around masks including occasional Facebook posts, emailing information about cloth masks over Constant Contact to our email list, and sending out signs encouraging people to wear masks for the events that have happened since the outbreak of COVID, we’ve concentrated our efforts on social distancing.
As cases continue to rise, it is incumbent upon us all to help slow the spread and do our part to help prevent further shutdowns. The DDA will be doing more public outreach on utilization of masks. Likewise, we are encouraging business owners to re-evaluate their COVID policies and consider whether changes are appropriate. This is particularly true when traffic volumes are higher than normal, such as during events, and social distancing cannot be observed. We all want businesses, employees, and customers to be safe, and together we can continue to work on increasing COVID-19 awareness and prevention by following best practices.
As part of that outreach, we would like to offer the following clarification on masks and social distancing:
- Masks reduce the risk of transmission to others. We’ve routinely seen comments like “I’m worried for [your] safety because [you] aren’t wearing a mask” or, on the reverse side of the political aisle, pictures of the side of the mask box with the disclaimer about COVID. In both instances, the argument is premised around the concept of the mask protecting the wearer. The mask reduces the risk of the wearer spreading the virus to others particularly when social distancing can’t be maintained.
- Masks can create a false sense of security. Due to misconceptions of how the masks work, people feel safe wearing a mask and engage in other practices that aren’t necessarily COVID safe.
- When used consistently, social distancing encourages individual awareness and responsibility. Individuals who are aware of their surroundings can take proactive steps to protect themselves including walking away from those not wearing a mask.
- Ensure that masks fit correctly. We’ve seen a lot of complaints that people aren’t covering both their mouth and nose. Our observations are that in many cases (not all), this is due to the mask either being too large or being tied incorrectly, causing the mask to fall down. This results in people repeatedly touching their face to adjust the mask accordingly. Health experts recommend against touching the face as an important disease prevention step.
- Cloth masks need washed at proper intervals. While most people wouldn’t wear their underwear for days on end without washing it, they are doing so with their masks. Cloth masks need to be washed on a frequent basis.
- Masks are not appropriate for everyone or in every situation. Masks shouldn’t be worn by children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unable to remove the covering without assistance. They also shouldn’t be worn while engaged in activities that cause it to become wet, like swimming. Masks may not be appropriate for high-intensity activities like running, if there is a potential for heat-related illness, or if other safety hazard exist in the workplace.
- Masks can create accessibility issues. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing that rely on lipreading to communicate are prevented from doing so unless clear face coverings are used.
On that note, Mayor Orr received some masks from Taiwan and has graciously given some of those to the DDA.
If your business is in the DDA District and needs masks for staff or to offer to customers, please stop by our office. We would be happy to give you a package. We only have about 10 packages so these are first come, first serve basis.
Additional information on masks can be found on the CDC website.
The Laramie County Community Impact Dashboard shows the number of active cases, confirmed cases, recoveries, deaths, testing sites, and more. To learn more, click here.