There are currently 34 states with mask mandates, according to data compiled by AARP. Washington DC and Puerto Rico also have mask mandates. All of said mandates have commonalities related to exemptions. Children as young as 2 and old as 12 are not required to wear masks depending on the state. People with certain medical conditions and those participating in various activities (e.g. swimming, exercising, etc.) are also not required to wear masks.
The public has wide-ranging opinions on wearing masks. A Gallup survey released in July found that 54% of women always wear masks when out in public, compared to only 34% of men. Age is also a factor, with 47% of those 55 and over saying they always wear masks in public, compared to 42% of those under age 34. Masks have also become political in this election year. A heathy majority of Democrats (61%) report always wearing masks in public compared to only 24% of Republicans. Income is also a factor, with 51% earning less than $36,000 per year wearing masks all the time compared to 44% of those earning $90,000 or more.
California's statewide mask mandate has been in effect since June 29. Children under age 2, people with respiratory issues, and those unable to remove masks without help are exempt from the mandate. Several cities and counties in the Bay Area are issuing fines to both individuals and businesses for not wearing and enforcing mask mandates, respectfully. Sonoma County and Contra Costa County fine individual violators $100, and businesses up to $10,000. Santa Clara County and Marin County fine individuals up to $500.
Regardless of your stance on masks, they are here to stay in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future.
Surgical masks are perhaps the most commonly used across the Bay Area. These are the loose-fitting, disposable masks that come in packages of 25 or more. They are meant for single-use. But Jade Flinn, a nurse educator at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Yahoo! that placing surgical masks in paper bags for 24 hours allows them to air out and use again. He emphasized not cleaning them, instead just letting them sit in a clean receptacle to decontaminate.
Cloth masks are becoming increasingly popular because they are easy to make. It's also the most practical option because said masks can be washed and reused. N95 masks are the best protection from both outside infection and from infecting others. The name comes from the claim that these masks block 95% of particles and mist that could potentially make contact with your face. These are also considered single-use masks. Those with facial hair are discouraged from wearing N95 masks.
The masks with valves are used because it's easier to breathe in them. Many medical facilities are banning valve masks because they are effective at protecting the wearer but not those around them, according to Loma Linda University Health.
Business opportunities have presented themselves to clever entrepreneurs taking advantage of the current norm of mask mandates. A company called Different Legacy makes LED Protective Face Masks. The fiber-optic cloth masks shine seven colors, with the lights also going in circular motions. The company promotes the masks as accessories for parties, night clubs and raves.
Baggu is a company that makes masks out of cotton. Dr. Scott Segal of Wake Forest Baptist Health, told New York magazine that these masks are good for long-term wearing, particularly on airplanes. He said since air is frequently filtered on planes and everyone else is wearing masks; the Baggu masks are good for both protection and comfort on planes.
Eco Office continues helping companies stay open by installing plexiglass barriers on cubicles, cash registers, counters, and all other applications. We also plan office spaces for reopening and strategically place partitions to ensure social distancing. Give us a call today at 408-437-1700 to discuss your needs.