CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County Public Health officials are now advising that people wear cloth face masks whenever in settings where it's hard to keep a social distance from others.
This means you'll be seeing an increase of face masks when out at grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential businesses still open during the pandemic.
"Wearing a cloth face mask does not change the importance of complying with the Stay at Home Order," a release from county health officials says.
The new recommendation comes after health officials say evidence shows asymptomatic people could be spreading the virus.
Since droplets from breathing or speaking could be spreading COVID-19, health officials say wearing cloth face masks would decrease the transmission.
Mecklenburg County Public Health officials urge everyone to wash and dry their masks daily — if the masks aren't fully dry, health officials warn they aren't as effective.
Health officials say cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove a mask without assistance.
Since N95 and surgical masks are in short supply, health officials are urging the public to save those for the health officials — go with a cloth face-covering instead.
And it's important to remember — the mask helps, but isn't a cure-all. While wearing the mask, avoid touching your face, and continue to practice frequent handwashing. But the best way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials say, is still to stay home whenever possible.