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With COVID-19 on everyone’s minds and shelter-in-place orders predicted to remain in place for the foreseeable future, masks and gloves have become commonplace. Though social distancing includes staying 6 feet apart and wearing surgical masks and gloves when around others, you may have noticed that some people are continuing to wear them while driving around. Is this necessary? Read on to find out!
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recommended that people follow all social distancing guidelines, which includes wearing a cloth face covering while out in public. These face coverings range from scarves to N95 respirators, but the main question is, do we need to wear them in our vehicles? While wearing a mask in the car is a good idea if you or a passenger is sick, you don’t necessarily need to wear one around the clock.
If you’re driving by yourself and you aren’t sick, wearing a mask is not necessary. If you’re in a car with someone else from the same household, and neither of you shows symptoms of being ill, wearing a mask is unnecessary. If, however, you are carpooling, ridesharing, or in a car with someone who is sick, it is highly recommended that you use a mask fully covering both the nose and mouth.
For those who insist on wearing a mask while driving, even when not carpooling or ridesharing, you could be opening yourself up to other dangers. Depending on your face-covering and where it sits on your face, wearing a mask while driving can reduce your field of vision. This alone can lead to an accident or cause distracted driving by continually trying to adjust the mask on your face.
You should also be cautious when putting masks on and taking them off. Always remove your mask from back to front, removing any straps and then pulling away from the face. This will reduce the risk of any particles on the outside front of the mask from touching your face or hands. Additionally, you should always remember to sanitize your hands whenever you put your mask on, take it off, or touch it with your hands. You may want to think about storage in a brown paper bag for those concerned with where to store your masks. COVID-19 does not survive well on porous surfaces when compared to hard surfaces.
Last Reminders: If you need to run some essential errands during shelter-in-place, protect yourself first. If you’re sick, stay home! If not, keep at least 6 feet away from others while shopping or standing in lines, and cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when out in public. Disinfect your shopping cart or basket with disinfecting wipes, and DON’T touch your face. When paying, use touchless payment if possible, and when it isn’t, use hand sanitizer immediately after.
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