Mayor Castor Launches Partnership with Essential Businesses On Face Coverings
City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and the City of Tampa, joined by Publix, Winn Dixie, Home Depot, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Tampa Electric and TECO People’s Gas, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Moffitt Cancer Center, and AdventHealth announced a coordinated effort to better protect employees and customers of some of Tampa’s largest essential businesses from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes a commitment by partner companies to provide face coverings to all employees that deal with the public, and an advisory that customers should wear face coverings when visiting their businesses. The City of Tampa is thankful to our partners for their willingness to participate and help promote this important preemptive measure.
“Our city staff are on the frontlines, that’s why we are committed to wearing face coverings while out in the public performing essential duties and ask the public to wear face coverings when visiting city facilities. The widespread use of face coverings in our community is a proven and critical step to not only flattening the curve but staying ahead of it.” said Mayor Jane Castor. “Practicing social distancing, regularly washing hands and wearing face coverings are vital steps in reducing the number of new cases. The sooner we move to widespread testing and the use of face coverings, the sooner we will be able to reopen our businesses and get back to our daily lives.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, as well as University of South Florida Public Health experts, recommend that individuals wear a face mask or covering whenever they are in a situation in which social distancing measures may be more difficult to achieve. This includes visits to grocery stores, pharmacies, large chain retail stores, restaurants with carryout, and when riding public transportation or rideshare.
Recent studies have indicated that there is a far greater number of asymptomatic individuals than previously indicated and that the virus can spread via talking and breathing. Studies also show that using face covers could play a significant role in reducing levels of transmission.
“We value the health and safety of our associates and customers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance as it continues to learn more about the coronavirus. As a result during this national emergency, we are requiring associates to wear face coverings,” says Publix Super Markets, Inc spokesperson.
“Pharmacies are a critical resource for every community, and we’ll continue to be here for customers and patients in these unprecedented times,” said Brian Bosnic, Senior Vice President, CVS Pharmacy. “We now require all store employees across the country to wear a company-issued protective mask or cloth face covering, and encourage our customers to do the same in a collaborative effort to help ensure the health and safety of our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The Moffitt Cancer Center also supports the use of face coverings. “Cancer won’t stop for COVID-19, and we are doing everything possible to ensure Moffitt is the safest place for cancer patients to receive their care. That includes having everyone wear masks,” said Jack Kolosky, chief operating officer at Moffitt Cancer Center “This is an easy, simple way to provide an additional measure of safety where social distancing is not possible.”
“We recommend that people wear masks in public as it has the potential to protect all of us,” said Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, hospital epidemiologist at Tampa General Hospital and assistant professor of infectious diseases at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “We now know that some people infected with COVID-19 don't have symptoms. The hope is that by wearing a mask the infected person is less likely to transmit the infection to others.”
AdventHealth has also pledged their support. “This is a critical time as we work to flatten the curve and limit the spread of coronavirus,” said Mike Schultz, President and CEO of AdventHealth West Florida Division. “We are taking aggressive steps at our hospitals to keep our team members, patients and community safe, and we know others can also pitch in by taking proactive steps such as wearing a mask and washing their hands. This will help us get back to business and stay well.”
Due to a shortage of commercial face masks, our partner businesses will be implementing their face covering programs as soon as possible. Customers should begin wearing face coverings when visiting essential businesses, and are strongly urged to choose homemade face coverings over medical grade masks. Please save medical grade masks for essential healthcare workers on the frontlines. Instructions on how to make a homemade face covering are available at the CDC's website.
Join the #FaceTheFactsTPA Movement!
The City of Tampa has made a digital media kit and posters available for businesses that would like to participate. The files can be accessed at tampagov.net/MediaToolkit in the COVID-19 folder. Get creative, make your own mask, make one for a friend, and don’t forget to post photos wearing face coverings along with the hashtag #FaceTheFactsTPA.
Companies participating include:
Tampa General Hospital
Moffitt Cancer Center
Tampa Electric and TECO People’s Gas