To wear a face covering or not is a question Horizon Public Health is getting more and more. The other part of the question is “Why do you think more people aren’t wearing masks/face coverings in public?” The truth is we don’t know. Individuals can only answer for themselves.

The people who do wear masks in public are protecting those around them and yet they can be made to feel awkward and self-conscious for wearing a face covering.

Horizon Public Health just introduced a new campaign to the public: “Wear, Wash and Wait.” The three W’s. Wear a mask; Wash your hands and Wait (back) 6 feet. These three actions are key to keeping COVID-19 from spreading in our communities, across the state and across the nation.

Wear: It’s important that you and the people around you correctly wear a cloth face covering when in public. Cover both your mouth and your nose with a face covering to protect others in case you are infected but don’t have symptoms. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice like when shouting or singing. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and be inhaled into the lungs.

Wear a face covering but also look for physical barriers, like plexiglass screens, or modified layouts, that help you keep your distance from others. Many businesses and offices are using visual reminders like signs, chair arrangements, markings or arrows on the floor that help to remind us to keep our distance from others.

Wash: Wash your hands with soap and water often and for 20 seconds. Hand hygiene is an important part of our COVID-19 response. Practicing good handwashing or using 60% alcohol-based hand rub is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Avoid touching your face with your unwashed hands.

Wait: It’s especially important to practice social distancing in public. Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household.

To practice social or physical distancing, stay back at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Social distancing should be practiced in combination with other preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Actions like wearing a face covering, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Make responsible decisions. With more businesses opening and with more social freedoms comes more personal responsibility. Choose outdoor activities and places where it’s easier to stay six feet apart like parks, and open-air facilities. Follow the distancing floor markers in businesses and offices. When you do go out in the community, the best ways to protect yourself and help slow the spread of Coronavirus is to practice the 3 Ws: WEAR. WASH. WAIT.

Here is a link to more information about face covering and protecting yourself and others who may be at higher risk for serious COVID-19 disease.

Marcia Schroeder RN

Horizon Public Health

Marcia Schroeder is a registered nurse with Horizon Public Health, which serves five counties, including Douglas County. Contact her at