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Reminder: You should be wearing a mask outdoors in the city, every time.
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Reminder: You should be wearing a mask outdoors in the city, every time.

Keys? Check. Phone? Check. Mask? Check. City says: regardless if you’re biking, running, doing errands, walking, or hanging out in a park – Mask up.

The weather’s warmer, everyone’s outside and half of Philadelphia is debating on Next Door whether masks outdoor are necessary or not.

This debate made it to the Mayor’s press conference on Tuesday.

Masks are mandatory indoors while shopping, but what about when on the sidewalks? According to Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, you should be wearing a mask outdoors in the city.

It’s tricky to avoid people in the urban jungle (and on those narrow sidewalks), so err on the side of caution. When people are walking around downtown, doing errands, it’s better to wear a mask. It’s easy to put on and breathe, and as Dr. Farley adds, “you never know when you might be passing someone.”

So what about when you’re working out? Do you HAVE to wear a mask?!

According to Dr. Farley, you can use a face covering that’s easy to put up when passing someone.

“I know it’s tough to actually be exercising with a mask on. For people who are exercising, there’s a recommendation that people wear a gater or scarf, when they go by other people, put it up. And when they’re more than 6′ away from people then they don’t have to have it up.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, M.D., M.P.H

(The city even has a cute little cartoon to show how this works!)

What about gardening outside?

If you’re outside your home gardening, do the same rules apply?

According to Dr. Farley, this depends on if you have a private space or not. Use common sense.

If you’re in your backyard or private space where you won’t be encountering other people, you don’t have to wear a mask.

If you’re doing work outside your house on a sidewalk (like a container garden), you should put one on. “Wear it just because you never know when you’re going to pass somebody,” explained Dr. Farley.

The Mayor added an extra incentive to wear a mask outside. “And it helps keep the pollen out,” added Mayor Kenney.

How to Act in Parks During a Pandemic

The city is considering how to increase mask-wearing in public spaces, especially as the weather warms up.

According to Mayor Kenney, the city is working with Parks and recreation department to have city staff members inform the public using public spaces (i.e. parks, rec centers, etc) of social distancing and wearing a mask.

So what should you do in parks?

As the Mayor shared in the press conference, here are a few recommendations for pandemic “positive” park behaviors:

  • Wear a Mask.
  • Don’t play group sports.
  • Stay 6′ away from others (not in your household).
  • Go out for exercise for an hour/ hour and a half and go back home (to give space to others).
  • No bbq’ing close to each other.
  • Bring your own water bottle. (Water fountains aren’t available.)

See the city website for additional do’s & don’ts.

As the Mayor explained, “I understand human nature…. We’re social creatures. This is a pandemic, as we all know. There are almost 100,000 people in the country dead as a result of it. You have to have self control and you have to have maturity.”

But the bright side? We’re close to the finish line if we keep up with the rules and the curve continues downward.

Wearing a mask and having social distancing has got us to this point where we’re close to kind-of opening up again in the next few weeks if we continue with the trend this way,” said Kenney.

So keep wearing that mask.

Stop Wearing Your Mask Wrong

Also, it doesn’t help to be wearing a mask under your chin. Here’s the city website about how to wear a mask – and what not to do.

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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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