City Officials Urge Bicyclists, Runners and Walkers to Wear Face Coverings
GLOUCESTER — Public Health Director Karin Carroll is encouraging residents to wear face coverings when walking, running or bicycling in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in the community.
On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a statewide requirement for anyone in public unable to remain socially distant, a minimum of six feet away from others, to wear a face covering beginning May 6. This exempts those under the age of two or with certain health conditions identified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
“The Governor is requiring that everyone wears a mask when unable to practice social distancing in public, and this is a step we’d like to see those running, bicycling and walking in Gloucester undertake as well,” Carroll said. “We all know that our beaches and sidewalks have been busy, especially on weekends and good weather days, and its critical that people do what they can to prevent the spread of this virus.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people, especially in areas experiencing community transmission of COVID-19, wear cloth face coverings in public when social distancing measures, such as remaining a minimum of six feet apart from others, are difficult to adhere to.
The CDC still advises those wearing a face covering to practice social distancing in public when possible, as COVID-19 is believed to be transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when someone with the virus talks, sneezes our coughs. Wearing a face covering helps prevent those who may have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic from passing the virus on to others, according to the CDC.
City officials additionally advise routine walkers, bicyclists and runners to consider changing their typical routes if they fall in areas known for high foot traffic in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
Residents are reminded that some individuals are unable, for a variety of reasons, to wear a mask or face covering. Please be respectful of others, even those without masks, and instead use good judgement and common sense. If you see someone without a mask in public protect yourself and be sure to maintain a safe distance from them.
“We’re asking everyone who goes running, bicycling or walking to take this additional precaution. This is one more step residents should take to do their part and prevent potentially spreading this deadly virus to others in our community,” Carroll said. “However, we’re also encouraging residents to remember we’re all in this together.”
Since April 15, the City has mandated that residents and employees wear a face covering when entering an essential business, such as a grocery store or pharmacy, as well as when picking up food at a restaurant for take-out or entering or exiting a residential or commercial building of greater than one unit.
Face coverings can be made out of household fabrics and materials, and should ideally have multiple layers. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which should be reserved for medical professionals and first responders.
Key elements to remember when wearing a face covering include:
- It should fit snugly against the side of your face
- It should be secured with ties or ear loops
- It should have multiple layers of fabric
- It should allow for breathing without restriction
- Fabric face coverings should be cleaned after each use and should be machine washable and dryer safe
- Always remove the mask directly into the laundry or trash and then immediately wash your hands
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your mask
Instructions for how to fashion a homemade face covering with no sewing required can be found here.
To watch a video of Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams making a no-sew face covering, click here.
Per the CDC, face coverings should not be placed on children under two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.