It has been about a month since all New Jerseyans were required to wear a mask, if shopping for food or other essential items. That requirement was part of Gov. Phil Murphy. Exec. Order 122, a further effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed over 9,000 New Jersey residents.
A statewide stay-at-home order is in place, but residents are allowed to leave their homes for essential tasks such as work, grocery shopping or to pick up medications. Healthy exercise in public parks is also an essential task, but masks in public are strongly recommended.
The order requiring face coverings for customers was part of the Governor’s order that increased restrictions at essential retail establishments, such as grocery stores.
The face coverings do not have to be surgical masks or the N95 masks that are critical for health care workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have encouraged Americans to wear cloth masks or face coverings while in public and gives instructions for DIY cloth masks.
There are ways to find a mask. ShopRite is selling surgical-type disposable masks for $1.00 at the entrance. A scarf, or infinity scarf, wrapped several times around the nose, mouth, and chin is acceptable. Make-shift masks are being made from old t-shirts, brassieres, and even the elastic from bungee cords.
A group in Somerset calling itself the Mask Squad, is sewing cloth masks and includes instructions on its website on how to do so (volunteer sewers also wanted.) Check out https://themasksquad.com/ – you can get instructions on sewing one at: https://themasksquad.com/design-resources/
MSN also offered some simple instructions on how to make your own mask.
Smithsonian Magazine has instructions for making a cloth mask from a bed sheet in 10 minutes without sewing: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-you-need-know-about-masks-180974586/
NOTE: The primary purpose of the make-shift or even surgical mask is not protection from virus particles, which may not be filtered. Six foot social distancing is still a minimum requirement. The primary purpose is to catch your own sneezes, coughs, breath, and vapor droplets from going out into the air towards other people or landing on foods and other objects.