Mask Up Cape Coral, Spread the Word
Wearing a mask in public is being strongly urged to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which is caught fire throughout the state of Florida.
The city of Cape Coral is ratcheting up its efforts by starting a public awareness campaign to encourage the use of facial coverings while in public.
The city on Tuesday launched its “Mask Up Cape Coral” public awareness campaign, encouraging residents and visitors to use face coverings to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and encouraging businesses to do the same.
“There was no mask ordinance passed in the Cape, but the city really wants to continue to strive to promote the CDC guidelines,” said Madelon Miuccio, of the city’s economic development office. “We want to make sure the residents and visitors understand the importance of wearing a mask, and we hope they really jump on board.”
Most people understand social distancing, washing hands frequently and other CDC safety recommendations can help slow the spread of the virus.
However, the city is encouraging everyone to also wear cloth face coverings in public, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
It’s a controversial issue.
There are residents who are against any mask mandate, as they say masks don’t prevent the spread, are hazardous to your health, constrict the flow of oxygen, and violates their individual liberties.
On June 29, City Council struck down an ordinance requiring facial coverings in certain places of business after many protested at a special meeting.
A new ordinance that was planned to be introduced Monday to incentivize local businesses to mandate masks for customers and employees by a rebate of the public service tax was pulled back by Councilmember Jessica Cosden after the city attorney Dolores Menendez cautioned against it.
Cosden said she likes the mask campaign, though she does not think it will be as strong a push as a mandate.
“An education campaign is great. I think it will help. I don’t know if it will be as effective as mandate or even a program I was looking at,” Cosden said. “People are getting educated already from multiple levels of government, and I don’t know if an extra layer is going to do much. But I hope it will reach those who don’t have all the information.”
Miuccio said they hope that people in the community will latch on to this and take it up.
The slogan for the campaign is “Spread the Word, Not the Virus” on digital billboards near the Cape Coral Parkway and Midpoint Memorial bridges, banners over Del Prado Boulevard at Veterans Parkway, kiosk messages along Southeast 47th Terrace, social media posts, and other digital and print messages.
The city will provide campaign graphics and flyers that can be downloaded from the city’s COVID-19 website (capecoral.net/COVID-19).
It has also partnered with the South Cape Community Redevelopment Agency, Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, Cape Coral Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and South Cape Hospitality & Entertainment Associations (SCHEA) to distribute flyers to businesses who encourage or require face coverings.
Any business that require masks as part of the campaign can have their business listed on the city’s COVID-19 web page.
As the campaign has been strictly digital so far and Lamar has donated space on the board to the city, there has been no cost involved. The only cost will be posters, for which the cost is as yet undetermined.
The campaign will continue through the summer and will be extended if needed.