In a new campaign, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and folks countywide explain why they wear face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Won’t you join an expanding gallery of masked mugs?
Ask Hope Graby why she wears a face mask and the strategic marketing director at Scheffey in Lancaster responds easily and directly.
“I mask up,’’ she says, “to keep Lancaster County open.”
Co-owner of the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes & Crematory operating in Lancaster, Lititz, Millersville and Strasburg, Chad Snyder is clear about the reasons he navigates the COVID-19 pandemic with a face covering.
“I mask up,’’ he says, “for the safety of our community, our employees, and my family.”
And ask sisters Cari and Bea Hollister about their new face accessories and the girls’ eyes suggest smiles hiding behind fabric.
“We mask up,’’ say the Conestoga Valley School District students, “because we love our grandpas.’’
Graby, Snyder and the Hollisters are among the Lancaster County-area employees, business owners and citizens — add U.S. Sen Pat Toomey to the list — who are part of the new “Mask Up for Lancaster’’ campaign. Designed to emphasize the critical importance of wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, the campaign mirrors the masked faces of Lancaster County community members who explain why, and for whom, they cover their noses and mouths in public.
These local photos and words will be showcased here on the RecoveryLancaster.com website, which is the online headquarters for the Lancaster County Economic Recovery Plan. The images are the focus of a wide-ranging initiative that includes billboards and social media. Students and retirees, CEOs and farmers – you, along with friends and family — are invited to share photos with Recovery Lancaster and be part of a growing gallery of masked faces focused on helping to curtail the reach of the pandemic.
“I mask up because study after study affirms that wearing a mask reduces the spread of coronavirus,” Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said in an email. “As our economy continues to reopen and until a vaccine is available, wearing a face mask when you venture out is the most practical and cost effective manner in which we, as Americans, can do our part to protect one another.
“Please, for the benefit of your neighbors, friends, and those who live in your community, wear a mask.”
In late March, Toomey and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) were the first two members of Congress to publicly support mask wearing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, noted a press release from their offices. They encouraged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to update safety guidelines to endorse the use of face coverings. The CDC and the task force did that a short time later.
To further their support for masking up, Toomey and Bennet introduced a bipartisan resolution July 30 that encourages Americans to don face masks when they leave their homes
“Wearing a mask should not be controversial,” Toomey said in a release announcing the resolution.
Everyone navigating the realities of COVID-19 must continue to adhere to proper public health practices: wash hands frequently and thoroughly; avoid touching faces; clean and disinfect surfaces; socially distance; and limit social interaction.
Add another to the list: Do not leave home without a face mask.
Pennsylvania, which requires individuals to wear masks when they leave their homes, is one of more than 30 states where mask-wearing is mandated statewide. As the state Department of Health website puts it, “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.’’
In a June 21 editorial imploring Lancaster County residents to wear face masks and take other preventive measures against the virus, LNP|LancasterOnline cited the work of Renyi Zhang, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. He and other researchers discovered that “wearing a face mask reduced the number of infections by more than 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9, and by more than 66,000 in New York City from April 17 to May 9,’’ LNP noted.
“Our results clearly show that airborne transmission via respiratory aerosols represents the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19,” Zhang said in the June 12 Science Daily. “We conclude that wearing a face mask in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent inter-human transmission.”
Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield agrees.
“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” he said in a July 14 press release. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.
“All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
That is good news for Lancaster County-based businesses that have opened safely and want to stay open. It is essential information for our schools, our citizens and our entire community. It signals a path to a new normalcy — such as enjoying a baseball game at Clipper Magazine Stadium, as Barnstormers masked mascot Cylo is quick to point out.
Even the masks, themselves, can be a source of fun, reminds Emily Drobnock, owner of Knock Knock Boutique in Elizabethtown.
“It’s summer’s hottest accessory! Literally!’’ she noted in a Recovery Lancaster feature earlier this summer. “We carry sparkly masks, print masks, and even mask refreshing spray, and that definitely makes wearing a mask more enticing to me.’’
Still, the fun is an outgrowth of the necessity. As the businesswoman said, “We at Knock Knock wear face masks out of consideration for all.’’
There could be no better reason for Gregory Tshudy, owner of EpitomeFIT in Lancaster.
“I mask up,’’ he says, “because your health matters to me.’’
BE PART OF THE CAMPAIGN
How: Take a picture of yourself, your co-workers or your family wearing face masks. Identify yourself and/or your business; include the municipality. (Do not resize or crop the photo; we will do that on our end.)
Tell us: Why you wear a mask by completing one of these sentences: I mask up: …. Or We mask up …
Share: Your photo and your sentence explaining why you mask up by sending them to Communications@RecoveryLancaster.com.
Look for photos: On RecoveryLancaster.com and its social media platforms; hashtag #maskuplanc.