Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee ordered yesterday that it is now mandatory for masks to be worn in public throughout Washington to help stem the spread of COVID-19. The statewide order, which will take effect on Friday, June 26, requires anyone (with limited exceptions) 5 years-old and above to wear face coverings while they are in any indoor or outdoor public space. Gov. Inslee now joins Governors across the country who have already issued mandatory mask-wearing orders in more than 15 states including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Masks reduce the risk of coronaviruses from 17% to 3%

The Restart Partners team fully supports the order for the mandatory wearing of masks and face coverings throughout Washington and we also strongly believe that other states should join this trend. Research such as the recently published review in the Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, clearly shows that physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection impede the spread of coronavirus, including COVID-19.  In fact, analysis of 10 studies in the Lancet review found that masks reduced the risk of coronaviruses from 17% to 3%.

It’s obvious from the research that wearing masks helps prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and will limit a future resurgence of the deadly virus.  A recent Health Affairs study examined mandatory mask wearing results in 15 states and the District of Columbia with signed orders mandating all individuals who can medically tolerate the wearing of a mask to do so in public settings. The study found that those orders possibly averted up to 450,000 cases of COVID-19 over the course of eight weeks.  According to a recent KING-TV news story about protective masks, scientists in the U.S. and U.K. have found that face coverings significantly reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

Why everyone should embrace this new public health habit

However, we expect that there will be naysayers who will debate the need for masks. That’s unfortunate. We find it difficult to understand why people don’t want to wear protective masks during the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly when there is so much research supporting the need for and benefit of wearing masks. While we respect differing viewpoints, it is a frustrating debate. And, we are not alone in our belief that everyone should be wearing protective face coverings while in public spaces.

In fact, respected longtime television anchor and host Enrique Cerna felt compelled to speak out on the topic of wearing masks recently and shared his video about the importance of wearing protective face coverings with our team. In his video, he talks about why it is critical to remain diligent when wearing a mask and why everyone should embrace this new public health habit so we can all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For those of who are making it a political issue, Enrique says simply,

“Come on, it’s not a political issue. It’s  a public health issue. Wearing a mask is about protecting your health, and more importantly, the health of your family, your friends, the people you care about …”

– Enrique Cerna, broadcast journalist

The Restart Decision Tool

When the Restart Partners team officially launched our nonprofit organization two weeks ago on June 10, the team had already been running at top speed for nearly two months, trying to help people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging the use of protective face coverings and helping organizations better manage their personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain. Rich Tong, co-founder of Restart Partners, a technology expert and former Microsoft executive, made a pivotal decision that has now become a movement, when asking himself how he could help during the pandemic. First, he brought his tech expertise and connections together to build a data modeling tool to provide helpful information to organizations trying to manage their PPE supply. The Restart Decision Tool brings science into the COVID-19-related decisions that every public, private and nonprofit leader is making today about PPE. Several states, counties, cities, nonprofits, and private companies are currently using the tool which is designed to help them better understand their PPE needs so they can procure PPE at higher quality and at a lower cost.

Next, Rich reached out to Dr. Sandra Archibald, Dr. Akhtar Badshah, Bharat Shyam, Trang LeLisa Goodman, Lisa Strauch Eggers, Mitch Eggers, and many other leaders in academia, technology, and business to help build what has become Restart Partners. The mission of our rapidly growing nonprofit organization is to empower communities to work together to save lives and livelihoods.

Call to Action: Please wear a mask!

What is our call to action for you?  Please wear a mask, Washington! And, while you’re at it, share your videos about why you wear a mask with us at restart.us/wearamaskwa.

We want to hear your #WearAMaskStories about why you wear a mask to keep your friends, family, loved ones, co-workers, grocery store workers, and fellow commuters safe.

These are the kind of stories that everyone can relate to and will enjoy hearing. Your videos could also persuade someone else to put on a mask and join our #WearAMaskWA movement to halt the spread of COVID-19. That’s how we’ll share the message about the importance of wearing face coverings and make a difference in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, why stop at Washington State? In fact, anyone who breathes (that’s about 7.8 billion people on earth) should wear a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 no matter where you are located around the world. By banding together to wear protective face coverings, we will defeat COVID-19 and save lives and livelihoods so that we can restart our lives and economies again … safely.