[UPDATE April 3 at 4:23 p.m.: The CDC has updated its guidelines to include recommending Americans wear cloth face coverings in public.]
Today, during a live-streamed press conference, Jared Polis directed all Coloradans to wear cloth masks every time they leave the house. Joining a growing number of cities such as New York and LA, Polis cited the success of Asian countries with “a strong mask culture” as well as recent studies that show nearly 25% of people with COVID-19 show no symptoms, as a motivator to make this call.
Polis continued to specify his request by telling people to not use medical masks like the N95 version needed for medical healthcare professionals. Rather simple cloth masks you can make from items at home such as old t-shirts and rubber bands should suffice and sewing is not required. Polis said scarves or bandanas are also acceptable as long as paired with social distancing. The goal is to make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth to help keep the virus from spreading from asymptomatic people. You do not need to wear in your house, but rather every time you leave including grocery shopping and walking your dog.
“This should be a part of everyone’s habits,” said Polis, along with handwashing and social distancing.
There was no discussion of fines or enforcement, rather Polis’ hopes the habit is picked up by everyone and even enlisted Nathaniel Rateliff via a video message to up the “cool” factor of mask-wearing. Later on this week, Polis said he’ll be sharing his homemade masks he’s made from his vintage t-shirts.
In terms of mask production for the medical healthcare professionals, Polis said that through partnerships with local companies like Denver Mattress Co. and Topo Designs they hope to produce 100,000 masks a week.