To mask or not to mask is no longer a question in Southampton Village.
In an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection—and in effect as of 12 a.m. Friday, April 10—Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren issued an executive order in the Village’s State of Emergency declaration on Thursday, mandating, among other policies, that masks or face covers must be worn at all Village retail locations that are permitted to operate due to their “essential” status, as detailed by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders. Masks or face covers must cover both nose and mouth areas.
This follows an updates Warren’s initial executive order requiring masks at all “supermarkets, grocery stores and all venues that engage in food sales and/or distribution.”
Warren’s new requirements for Southampton Village retail are listed below. The April 9 document can also be viewed here: LOCAL EMERGENCY ORDER (CORONAVIRUS) 4-2020
Workers and customers must wear cloth face coverings while on the premises, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age. Workers are required to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings and gloves for their employees.
If a customer refuses to wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the business at the point of entry, then the business must decline entry to the individual, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies or food, in which case the business policy should provide alternate methods of pickup and/or delivery of such goods.
Nothing in the stated policy should prevent workers or customers from wearing a surgical-grade mask or other more protective face covering if the individual is already in possession of such equipment, or if the business is otherwise required to provide such worker with more protective equipment due to the nature of the work involved.
[Note: Despite above policy, Mayor Warren also asks that people minimize the use of N95-rated masks, which are “critical supplies for healthcare workers, police, fire, emergency management or other persons engaged in life/safety activities, and the provisions of this order shall serve as minimum standards.”]
Where an individual declines to wear a face covering on store premises due to a medical condition that inhibits such usage, neither the essential retail business nor its staff shall require the individual to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.
All persons outside their homes are encouraged to wear a cloth facial covering consistent with the current CDC guidelines, including cloth masks. Persons choosing to use masks are encouraged to review and comply with the CDC and New York State Department of Health guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE). See note about N95 masks above.
Except as stated above, this order is now in effect and will remain until removed by further order of Mayor Warren. Failure to obey the order is a punishable criminal offense.
“This executive order will protect the health and safety of our residents as well as our workforce in these respective businesses,” Mayor Warren said in a statement. “Face covers blunt the airborne projection of COVID-19, and this executive order will work to flatten our curve and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. We are happy to set the example for other communities in this specific mandate.”
Warren’s announcement points out that the Southampton’s healthcare community is applauding his executive order. “This is absolutely what our Village needs, and will help us further flatten our curve,” Southampton infectious disease specialist, Dr. Rajeev Fernando agrees.
Dr. Peter Michalos, founder of The Hamptons Health Society also stated, “This mirrors what was done most effectively around the globe, such as in South Korea and the Czech Republic—both countries had some of the lowest infection rates and deaths.”
Free masks are available to Southampton Village residents who need them for grocery shopping. To get one, email [email protected]. Mayor Warren worked closely with Dr. Michalos to procure three-ply surgical masks for Village residents a week after he and The Hamptons Health Society raised over $300,000 in 72 hours to donate ventilators, oxygen helmets, N95 masks and other PPE to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.
Directions on how to make a face covering or a mask can also be found locally on the Rogers Memorial Library Instagram, @rogersmemoriallibrary (embeded below), and reposted on Mayor Warren’s personal Instagram account, @mayorwarren—which he regularly updates with important information—as well as on the CDC website with instruction from the US Surgeon General.
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