WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem city leaders want all citizens to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Allen Joines alongside healthcare leaders announced the Mask the City initiative during a press conference on Tuesday.
The hope is to provide all citizens with masks and urge them to wear it while continuing to practice social distancing for 40 days from now until May 31.
The masks will be widely dispersed throughout the community under the program.
William M. Satterwhite, III, JD, MD, Chief Wellness Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health, and his team designed the mask in conjunction with Renfro Corporation. Renfro is manufacturing the masks, which are called the Nightingale™ WS Protective Mask.
Renfro has the ability to make about one million masks a week at peak capacity and has earmarked the first 300,000 masks for Winston-Salem.
The first shipment of about 30,000 masks was delivered to Winston-Salem on Monday and distribution is underway.
“I’m challenging every person in Winston-Salem to continue practicing social distancing and to wear a mask every time they go outside to help dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Joines said.
“The tagline for Mask the City is ‘Wear a mask. Love your neighbor. Protect yourself.’ It is imperative that we all do just that for 40 days to protect our community and change our trajectory for this summer. The next 40 days are a critical time, and we must be diligent,” Joines said. “I am confident that the citizens of Winston-Salem will rise to the occasion under Mask the City. This is our time to shine for all of America to see as we adapt to a ‘new normal’ until a vaccine is developed.”
Mayor Joines estimates 60,000 or more masks will be made available at no cost to low-income individuals and other at-risk citizens through a variety of community and faith-based organizations.
To make sure there are enough masks for all local residents, the organizers of Mask the City ask that each person accept only one mask, even if offered masks by multiple organizations.
The masks will be available on Friday, April 24 for individual purchase at Lowes Foods on Robinhood Road, Reynolda Road and Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem and at Lowes Foods in Lewisville, Bermuda Run, and Kernersville.