Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington

Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington

Wearing a mask saves lives and saves jobs.

And all across the state, Washington employers are leading by example in the fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

From Seattle to our small towns, workers are masking up before starting their shifts on manufacturing floors, in restaurant kitchens, construction sites and hardware stores. This simple tool is even more powerful when customers do their part as well — and wear a mask before coming inside.

Culturally, we are adjusting and building new habits. Face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer have joined wallets, phones and car keys among the necessary items to have before leaving our homes. Some masks are plain, and some have the logos of our favorite sports teams or other patterns. Either way, they have become part of our daily lives.

Initially, face masks were encouraged primarily as a way to protect those around us. But now researchers from around the world are looking into the possibility they also provide protection for the person wearing the mask. Recent studies indicate people are 65% less likely to be infected if they wear a mask.

And Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he believes the pandemic could be brought under control in four to eight weeks if “we could get everybody to wear a mask right now.”

Our state needs this team effort to keep people from getting sick — and help our economy stay open and avoid more closures. Masks help companies open up and stay open. The economy has a great degree of fragility. We need to do everything possible to avoid going backward. Wearing a mask can not only help keep you and neighbors healthy, but they can also help you and your neighbor collect a paycheck, not an unemployment check.

Washington’s economy shut down in March. Lives were saved as we stopped the spread of the coronavirus. But our economy took a major hit when customers stayed home and demand dropped. Many businesses are still recovering, and some are already gone forever from this once in a lifetime event.

Since then, our state has reopened slowly and carefully. Employers have made major investments in personal protective equipment, safety training, and by rearranging store layouts and factory floors. This work is all the more remarkable considering that hundreds of Washington manufacturers have shifted their operations to make this personal protective equipment to both save jobs and help our state reopen safely.

Now, COVID-19 cases are trending upward in Washington and around the country. But we have come too far to turn back. This point is being driven home by the Stay Safe Washington Coalition, which has launched a new public awareness campaign to highlight the benefits of using a mask. The message is simple: If we all wear a mask in public places, we can stay safe and stay open.

This broad coalition represents contractors, ethnic businesses, bankers, grocers, Realtors, the retail, hospitality and food industries, AWB and more. We are proud to be part of this team effort to protect public health and help keep our struggling economy open.

And we are asking all Washingtonians to continue to do their part. Frequent hand washing, physical distancing and face masks are some of the best tools we’ve got right now as we fight this virus and attempt to rebuild our battered economy.

It might not seem like much, but a simple piece of fabric can help save a job, protect a life and — hopefully soon — defeat this virus.

Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

t
Nana’s Southern Kitchen opens Covington location

Restaurant started in Kent in 2019

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
Is cryptocurrency really an investment? | Guest column

Undoubtedly you have heard about the new form of money known as… Continue reading

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

A Darigold dairy worker practices picketing as a strike is approved by the union. Photo courtesy of Julia Issa
Puget Sound Darigold workers on verge of strike amid contract negotiations

Workers cite lack of medical leave, outsourcing and bad-faith negotiations as reason for strike.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

Cash Cards Unlimited partners, left: Nick Nugwynne, right: Cassius Marsh (photo credit: Cash Cards Unlimited)
Former Seahawks player Cassius Marsh cashes in on trading cards

Marsh and his friend open physical and online trading card store as collectibles boom amid pandemic.

Teaser
First large-scale, human composting facility in the world will open in Auburn

“It’s what nature meant us to do. We just do it faster.”

Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading

Screenshot
WA Democrats consider new tax on billionaires

Plan could raise $5 billion from fewer than 100 taxpayers. Detractors fear it could drive Washington’s wealthiest out of state.

Last summer, people took advantage of the outdoor dining along First Avenue between Gowe and Titus streets in downtown Kent. In Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Photo courtesy of Kent Downtown Partnership
Restaurant reprieve: State to relax some indoor restrictions

On Monday, area restaurants and certain entertainment venues may resume indoor service, the governor said.