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Mayor Issues Advisory Asking New Yorkers to Wear Face Coverings; Holden Says It Should Be Mandatory

Photo: QueensPost

April 3, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Mayor Bill de Blasio advised all New Yorkers Thursday to wear face coverings when stepping outside their homes.

He said people should wear bandanas, scarves, or other coverings over their mouth and nose while out in public in order to slow the spread of the virus that has infected about 50,000 city residents.

The mayor had previously advised people to wear masks or face coverings only if they were sick. He issued the new guidance because more evidence is evolving that shows that asymptomatic people may be carrying COVID-19 and can spread it to others.

“When you put on that face covering you’re protecting everyone else,” he said at a press briefing yesterday.

De Blasio said everyday New Yorkers should not use surgical or N95 masks as those should be reserved for medical workers on the frontlines. Instead the face coverings should be “homemade.”

“It could be a scarf it could be something you create yourself at home, it could be a bandana, it does not, not need to be a professional surgical mask,” de Blasio said.

“In fact, we don’t want you to use the kinds of masks that our first responders need, that our health care workers need. Don’t use those — can’t be clearer — leave those alone, leave those to the people who need them the most who are saving lives.”

However, Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said that while the face coverings are helpful in stopping the spread they are by no means foolproof.

“These face covering shouldn’t be seen as an invitation to come closer,” she said. “They should actually be an indication to keep six feet distance.”

The new advisory is only guidance. It is not a mandatory order that will be enforced, de Blasio said.

However, Council Member Robert Holden, who represents Ridgewood and surrounding areas, thinks the city should go a step further and make it mandatory.

“I believe that during this emergency, wearing a mask should be a requirement on the streets of New York City, not just an advisory,” he said in a statement.

He submitted legislation to the City Council Wednesday that would require everyone to wear a mask or face covering when in public during a public health emergency.

“Despite earlier reports about the ineffectiveness of masks for the general public, there is growing evidence and data that shows the opposite is true,” Holden said. “A mask may not entirely protect you from getting sick, but it will prevent you from spreading the Coronavirus to others, and it is very easy to make your own mask at home.”

He said the approach has been effective in other countries like South Korea, Japan and the Czech Republic.

“It’s time for Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Barbot to stop living behind the curve,” Holden said. “Either we are going to flatten the curve or continue to see this virus spread. They are waffling and treading too carefully on this decision once again, and it’s time they showed real leadership by taking a bold step forward.”

More information about face coverings can be found on the city’s coronavirus guidance website.

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13 Comments

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What happens if you are like me and you feel as if you're suffocating with ANYTHING on your face or mouth?

I can’t have anything on my face. Not during winter, not when I’m cleaning. I’m actually suffocating with anything over my face and nose. It’s not claustrophobia, and also no matter where I position the mask my glasses fog up and then I can’t see what I’m doing or where I’m going.

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Jim

Is not a coincidence that Queens has been hit so hard. People are ignorant and have not taken this seriously from the beginning. People are still walking around on the streets Individually, in pairs and in groups. If you have to go out move along quickly and distance!

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Gardens Watcher

Holden is right on this. Man up, guys. Wear a mask and eye protection too.

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Gardens Watcher

The NYPost ran an article with a simple video for how to make a no-sew face mask. Uses an 18-inch square scarf and two hair elastics. Wash and reuse.

SSP, can you post it?

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Gardens Watcher

Queen, this is a novel coronavirus — meaning it is a new virus — so info about it is evolving. The virus may be mutating as well. There are a lot of unknowns about it and new studies from around the world are providing new data all the time. That’s why guidelines are changing.

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Sarah

Medical masks are better. Cloth masks may prevent infected people from spreading the virus but not help people from acquiring it. The media needs to make a better effort to note this fact. Disinfect grocery items by washing them, do not eat raw food and stay home!!!

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Mima

Wear protective masks, Some people are so disgusting, looking out my window I witnessed recently two different people spitting on the sidewalk. That’s what they probably do in the country they are coming from (I am a immigrant myself so don’t judge me) but if you pay attention to people’s behavior you’ll be absolutely disgusted.

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Toni

A scarf??? A bandana??? That is like recommending to use saran wrap to prevent STDs. They must think we all are such fools.

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Lee

The fact that masks help is old news for many parts of the world. I wonder how much longer it will take for the Usa to tell us that we also need protective eyeware when we are outdoors. It can also be transmitted through the eyes when an infected person talks.

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Suckafree

This virus is very new, it’s not the influenza flu. But Asian countries with some exceptions like Singapore tend to believe masks do help. It’s downright bizarre the specialists have no clear evidence wearing masks would not prevent infection but argue masks have holes and you’re more likely to touch the mask and face to adjust it. I don’t see many people walking around adjusting their masks. The real reason is they don’t want a run on masks where that need it like medical, police, etc. where there’s a shortage. I can’t believe the US can’t produce masks. If this was World War 2, our soldiers would be going into war without weapons, helmets, rations. Iraq had US soldiers asking their families to buy functional body armor because the military issued armor was faulty.

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Anonymous

How many people died because de Blasio and Carranza wouldn’t close the schools. Was the free babysitting worth killing people?

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Not a single one

No one died as a result.

Thousands are dying because Trump’s response is so terrible. You’re concerned about that too right? Otherwise you’d be such a hypocrite your argument is pointless…

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Queen of Corona

Everytime I turn the news on, yesterday rules change. Can you all agree from the start to wear face coverings and stop changing the rules So much for these wanna be experts .I dont think they themselves know what they are doing

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