WRN’s Bob Hague

Call it mutually assured preservation. Call it a sign of respect. We all ought to be masking up, when we’re out and about amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“When you wear a face mask, you are preventing spread of your own respiratory secretions to other people. And if the party across from you is also wearing one, you are both preventing your spread of secretions, and putting a barrier in place against others,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Deputy Secretary with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

With small retailers in Wisconsin now able to be open for up to five customers at a time, Willems Van Dijk said Tuesday that we should all be covering up in stores.

“Employees of the store wearing face masks, and patrons of the store wearing face masks,” she said. Although DHS is not mandating masks for employees or shoppers, “we know they are most effective when both parties are wearing a facemask.”

Chris Woleske, President and CEO of Bellin Health in Green Bay, said last week that wearing a mask is a sign of respect for health care workers and others.

“We ask everyone who comes into our facilities, whether you work in the facility, or you’re coming in as a patient, that you wear a mask. It’s a sign of respect,” Woleske said. “I protect you, you protect me, so together we’re helping each other stay healthier.”

While both DHS and the Centers for Disease Control emphasize that cloth face covers are not a substitute for physical distancing and handwashing, Willems Van Dijk said they can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. “If we all want to do our part, to reduce the risk of transmission, when we are out in public, encountering people that we don’t encounter in our normal daily life, it is safest if we all use a facial covering.”

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