Businesses and Local Authorities Requiring Face Masks
As Coronavirus continues to spread, entities across the globe are requiring people to don face masks in public spaces
Earlier this month the Center for Disease Control began recommending that citizens, including healthy ones, wear face masks while in public. This recommendation is not being enforced by the federal government, rather, wearing face masks is on a voluntary basis. However, governors of several states are taking these recommendations a step further and are now requiring that citizens sport a face mask while patronizing essential businesses and public transportation. This includes states like Connecticut, Hawaii, and New York, which is currently the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. Face mask mandates like these do not replace social distancing mandates. Rather, citizens are still being asked to social distance but when this isn't possible, when grocery shopping or working an essential job, for example, governments are asking their people to wear masks. Policymakers cite evidence that coronavirus can spread via droplets from seemingly healthy people. People without symptoms, or very mild symptoms, can expel tiny droplets or aerosols from the mouth when they speak, cough, or sneeze. These droplets can hang in the air, drop onto a surface, or be inhaled by a nearby person, thus, spreading infectious germs.
Local authorities aren't the only ones requiring face masks in public. As of Monday, April 27, The airline JetBlue is requiring all passengers to wear a face mask from the time they check in to their flight, to the time they disembark, beginning in May. Other airlines, like American Airlines, announced that flight crews will be required to wear face masks. Walmart also announced that all store associates are required to wear masks while working. These efforts aim to curb the community spread of the virus and to ensure employees' and customers' safety.
It's important to note that these policies are to be combined with other already-in-place social-distance policies in addition to general hygiene guidelines, like frequent hand-washing. These policies change on a daily basis as new evidence comes out and decisions are made. You may need to stay up to date with your local government and news sources to find out what will be required of you.