As of May 1, 2020, all Mainers are required to wear a cloth face covering when out in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, per order of Governor Mills. The order identifies public settings as:
Cloth face coverings are not required for children under age 2, a child in a child-care setting, or for anyone who has trouble breathing or related medical conditions, or who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Wearing a cloth face mask is mostly to protect other people from getting sick. Physical distancing, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, and hand washing are still the primary way to prevent you from being infected with COVID-19.
Recent studies indicate that many individuals have coronavirus but are unaware because they do not experience any symptoms. Wearing a cloth face mask may prevent asymptomatic people from unwittingly spreading the disease.
Cloth face masks are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those items are in short supply and need to be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
You can make a cloth mask from common household materials, even if you don’t sew. For easy-to-follow instructions visit the CDC site, or watch this YouTube video. Making a mask might even be a fun ‘Do it Yourself’ project for young people with cabin fever.
Some important things to keep in mind:
More information about the CDC’s face mask recommendation is available here.
With so much focus on COVID-19 precautions, the seasonal flu could escape many peoples’ minds. But health experts want everyone to pay more attention than ever to preventing influenza this year. And, it's not too late to get a flu vaccination.
In an August 4, 2020 report on National Public Radio, Mark Thompson, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, "No year is a good year to get the flu, but this year — with COVID-19 also raging — it's especially bad.” He noted that "People who can avoid the flu will help reduce the burden on a U.S. health care system already overwhelmed by COVID-19.”