The Harford County Health Department will hold a #MasksOnMaryland drive-thru clinic next week to distribute free masks to local businesses.
The masks will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Health Department’s main office at 120 S. Hays St. in Bel Air. Businesses are encouraged to register in advance to secure masks and reduce wait times, according to a news release from the Health Department.
“We are pleased to be able to distribute masks for our local community, without charge, to continue with safety precautions against COVID-19," said Marcy Austin, Acting Health Officer, in a statement. "All of our Harford County community has worked tirelessly over the past several months to help combat this virus, and this is just another opportunity for the health department to stress the importance of safe practices during this time. Wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and we welcome any business who is in need of masks for their staff or guests to drive thru on Wednesday.”
The Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear face coverings in public and follow other preventive measures, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and cleaning high touch areas to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Molly Mraz, a spokesperson for the Harford County Health Department, said the event is an opportunity provided by the state to ensure businesses have adequate masks for both staff and customers.
“We’ve all walked to the front door of a business, only to turn around walk back to the car because we forgot our masks,” Mraz said. “We’re hoping that businesses utilize this event and grab a few boxes for their patrons and staff.”
The Health Department has received a surplus of masks it has received over the past few months, Mraz said. It has been providing PPE to healthcare providers for the past seven months. It has also provided 12,600 masks to Harford County Public Schools and about 1,500 masks for Harford Community College for their drive-thru trick-or-treating event on Oct. 30.
There is no set limit on the number of masks a business can receive, Mraz said.
“We’re encouraging businesses to register so we have an idea of how many masks a business needs. We feel we have more than enough to supply businesses with the number of masks they wish to receive," she said. “If they have a concern they’re asking for too many or want to make sure we can supply them with an adequate number, they can always [contact the Health Department] to make sure.”
The free mask event is a part of the #MasksOnMaryland campaign to encourage all Marylanders to wear face coverings in public places to help prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19.
The campaign coincides with the start of flu season. Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are very similar, Mraz said.
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“The Harford County Health Department is encouraging all residents to continue to wear masks and social distance, especially during flu season,” said Lisa Swank, the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the health department. “This is why we are providing Harford County businesses with free masks to distribute to their patrons and employees during this time of year. Especially with the upcoming flu season, your actions can define the health of our community.”