As every region in Michigan witnessed an uptick in new cases of COVID-19 last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded in an early Friday announcement, telling Michiganders to “mask up.”
Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147, which reiterates that residents in an indoor public space are required to wear a face covering. The order also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces.
Even more significant, the order requires that any business that is open to the public refuse entry or service to people who refuse to mask up, with limited exceptions.
“The heroes on the front lines of this crisis have gone hours without taking their masks off every day — doctors, nurses, child care workers, grocery store workers. We owe it to them to wear our masks when we’re on a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy,” said Whitmer. “Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70%. By wearing masks, we can save lives and protect our family, friends and neighbors from the spread of COVID-19. And by wearing masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position so our kids can return to school safely in the fall. For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up, Michigan.”
Not everyone agrees they should wear a mask. Some also cite anxiety or other issues as reasons to not wear them.
Here are a few things to consider if you haven’t found the right face covering or feel you want to try something different. We also bring to light a couple forms of protection you should leave to the professionals.
Neck Gaiter Face Scarfs are a handy option as they are worn around the neck like a scarf and can be pulled up as needed. It is important to remember to have at least two layers of protection in face masks, so take that into consideration if ordering this style of face covering.
N95 masks are respirator masks that come in several different sizes. These masks are what many medical professionals use, and the public is not encouraged to shorten the supply by purchasing for themselves. In fact, improper use of N95 masks with valves has caused some cities to actually ban the use of N95 respirators with a valve in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Do-it-yourself mask instructions abound on the World Wide Web. These are washable, can include pockets for filters and are probably the mostly commonly seen masks when you are out and about. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a mask tutorial for the DIYer.
Face shields are commonly seen in photos of medical workers, but it’s important to note they are also wearing surgical masks under them. The CDC does not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for the cloth face coverings.
Some are embracing the masks and going all out with fashion statements, though it is unclear whether some of the more “interesting” masks are actually protective. Others are fashioning bandanas as simple methods of protection.
Whether we want to wear one or not, the requirement to wear masks will be mandated until the state sees COVID-19 cases severely drop. That won’t be any time in the immediate future — so in the meantime, you may want to stock up.