Springfield mayor launches contest to raise awareness about wearing a mask in public

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:33 PM CDT
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No matter where you go, whether its grocery shopping or simply strolling through your neighborhood, seeing someone wearing a mask has become part of our everyday norm.

"I wear a cloth mask, I have several different ones so that I can look more stylish in my mask," said Gene Davison.

Gene Davison wears one every day, he also happens to be a huge advocate for making the mask mandatory in the city of Springfield.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure is inviting the community to submit 30-second videos on why it's important to wear a mask, the videos will then be judged and the winner will become part of a public service announcement on TV and social media.

"I don't want to go to mandatory masking if we can avoid it, it's difficult to enforce, but we can do this if we all voluntarily do this, I am protecting you and you're protecting me its a social responsibility type that we all should," said Mayor McClure.

But, Davison isn't completely sold on the idea of turning the topic into a contest.

"Having a contest like that and saying you have until July 15 to get it in.. is just kicking the can down the road, again anything to promote mask-wearing is a positive thing, but this isn't really going to change people's behavior," said Davison.

KY3 did ask Mayor McClure if he had a message for those who might be against wearing a mask in public because it was an infringement on their civil liberties.

"At some point, the public health is if someone's personal freedom is going to make me sick then that's a problem, and so what we do is encourage people to be good citizens and take care of yourselves, take care of your family, take care of your neighbors, be responsible a wear the mask," said Mayor McClure.

But, health officials at Mercy Hospital say they are in full support of this new contest.

"I think its a personal way to get buy-in and personal gain from just others in the community and spread awareness," said Jessica Atchinson.

Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth says they are also in support and stated the following.

"I applaud the mayor for his firm leadership during this crisis, and I am confident he saved lives by acting quickly to reduce the spread of the virus. He has the weight of the world in his shoulders, and he is trying to protect our hometown and protect our economy. He has my support.

The masking contest is a fun idea, as we need to make the best out of a difficult situation. There is compelling evidence that if at least 60% of a community wears a mask in public when they can’t distance, we can reduce the rate of transmission and thwart the progress of this disease. Masking may be our desperately needed bridge to a vaccine.

All around us the disease prevalence is up to 15 times higher than the Springfield area. But it is coming, and we must slow it. Masking is our best strategy. The contest is fun, but we will need even more certain and firm action to assure higher mask usage. Masking will save lives, and the scientific and medical community supports it. Local polls show that business leaders also support it 3-1.

History will judge us, and we must be bold and protect our community."

People have until July 15 to submit their videos.

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