Hays residents urged to cover faces in public

Staff Report

Who is that masked man?

Well, it could be anyone. Hays County is urging residents to adopt recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and wear cloth face masks when going to the grocery store or pharmacy or performing any other essential activity allowed under the statewide stay at home order invoked by Gov. Greg Abbott last week.

CDC image

The CDC went on to advise against members of the general public wearing N95 masks, which should be reserved for medical professionals engaged in the frontline battle against the COVID-19 virus. While cloth masks don’t provide the protection health care workers need, they can help keep those who have the virus but are asymptomatic from spreading the disease without knowing they are infectious.

However, wearing masks doesn’t help if residents don’t continue to thoroughly and frequently wash their hands and to observe social distancing.

Many residents have been making masks by recycling old T-shirts, pillowcases and other items. They can also be assembled from a bandana and two rubber bands (or ponytail holders). If using new fabric, the CDC suggests washing it in hot water first, to avoid later shrinkage or bleeding of fabric. Search YouTube for how-to videos.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said that while some jurisdictions are already requiring or contemplating requiring residents to wear masks in certain public areas, Hays County is still gathering information and has not made decision about if or when masks would be required. That direction could come as early as Becerra’s weekly update on the virus due to be delivered at the start of Tuesday’s meeting of the commissioners court.

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