Wear your mask

With the stakes getting higher, and more people being hospitalized due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, city officials have finally begun to implement policies to protect their citizens. National City became the first city in San Diego County to make it mandatory for residents to wear masks when they go outside. Soon after, Chula Vista also made it a requirement for people to wear masks when going outside. 

This policy was necessary with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area, and many residents also agreed with the decision. In an article written by NBC San Diego, all the residents that were asked about the new policy said that they agreed with the measures taken. One resident, a man named Daniel, even went as far as saying,” […] it’s not really that hard to follow. It’s a mask, that’s all it is. It’s not a big deal. It’s very much worth it.”

As a resident of National City, this policy brings a sense of comfort to me as it gives me reassurance that when I go out to help my family with groceries not only will I have less of a risk to catch the virus but so will my family.

The types of masks that are permitted to use include regular cloth masks since there is a current shortage of surgical and N95 masks. Surgical masks and N95 masks are used to protect the wearer from getting the virus, while cloth masks just prevent the wearer from spreading it.

“Yes, face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the disease,” MayoClinic states in their article about face mask importance.

The steps that cities are taking to protect the public are necessary and are great decisions when considering the number of COVID-19 cases. The mayor of National City, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, highly encourages the public to always cover their faces when leaving their homes. According to Sotelo-Soli face-coverings don’t necessarily have to be a face mask, it can also be a bandana or shirt.

Illustration by Jaylen Gladney A majority of stores across San Diego are making it a requirement for shoppers to wear masks. People who don’t comply with the implemented policy are not allowed to enter the stores.

Although these steps were clearly the best response to COVID-19, city officials were also very late when considering the spread of the virus. In an editorial written by the San Diego Union-Tribune, they argue that although officials were warned twice about the pandemic, once in late February and the second time in late March, action towards the public’s safety did not happen until two weeks ago when National City started to administer their new policy.

This fact only worsens my thoughts on how poorly cities were prepared for the virus, even if it ended up being a small sickness. The protection of the public should be officials first priority.

The way National City officials are handling the safety of the public is a step up from what was attempted in other places. Although the city officials are doing a great job at preventing the spread of the virus, there is still a lot more that can be done to prevent the spread of the virus. Masks only aid in the drop of COVID-19 cases if proper social distancing is practiced along with frequent hand washing, as mentioned earlier. It would help to have sanitation wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at entrances of supermarkets and other stores that have a mass of people. Additionally, officials should strictly implement this policy, it is more of a request made to the public.

On KPBS’s website coverage of the policy’s implementation, it also states how National City officials are looking into distributing masks to communities that cannot currently afford them. This is a great way for officials to enforce the new policy to areas that might not have been able to if not for city help.

National City’s COVID-19 preventative steps are something to be applauded for and taken as an example for other counties and cities to protect the public. The city’s measures not only ensure the safety of the public but also prevents the spread of the virus.