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Are Greensboro shoppers wearing face coverings now that the CDC says we should? Not really. We counted.

WFMY News 2's Ben Smart visited three different stores in Greensboro on Sunday night and counted how many people entering the store wore a face covering or mask.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines Friday to say that all Americans should wear a face covering if they have to go out in public spaces like grocery stores, where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

More than two days later, we wondered how many people were heeding the CDC's optional recommendation to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

WFMY News 2's Ben Smart visited three different stores in Greensboro on Sunday night between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and counted how many people entering the stores wore a face covering or mask. 

Here are the results, counted over the course of 15 minutes, sitting a safe distance in the parking lot.

  • Target on Bridford Parkway: Six out of 85 people (7 percent) entered the store wearing a face covering or mask.
  • Walmart on W. Wendover Ave.: 11 out of 78 people (14 percent) entered the store wearing a face covering or mask.
  • Food Lion on Market Street: Four out of 48 people (8 percent) entered the store wearing a face covering or mask.

This is not a formal scientific study and may not be representative of all Greensboro stores across different times throughout the day and week, but the parking lot count shows that only a minority of shoppers wore a face covering or mask when shopping at the three stores around 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The CDC website indicates that the agency updated its face-covering guidelines due to recent research revealing that a significant portion of people sick with COVID-19 do not show symptoms, but can still spread the virus to other people.

The agency is recommending all Americans wear a face covering or mask when out in public spaces where a 6-foot social distance is difficult to maintain. The CDC said you can make a mask at home using materials like a T-shirt or bandanna and rubber bands.

The agency asked that people do not try and purchase surgical or N-95 masks because they are in short supply and need to be reserved for healthcare workers or first responders.

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Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

RELATED: Facts Not Fear | What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media. 

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.

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