Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren mandated masks or face coverings be worn in all venues that engage in food sale or distribution.
The April 9 move was made as part of an executive order in the village’s State of Emergency declaration. Masks or face shields must cover the nose and mouth, and be worn in grocery stores, markets, and restaurants when picking up takeout. The order quickly followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statement that everyone should wear masks or face guards in public places. The executive order went into effect at noon today, April 10.
It also requires the few essential stores still open in the village to equip workers with masks and gloves.
“This executive order will protect the health and safety of our residents as well as our workforce in these respective businesses,” Warren said. “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 with this specific mandate.”
Southampton’s health care community applauded the move.
“This is absolutely what our village needs, and will help us flatten our curve,” echoed Southampton infectious disease specialist Dr. Rajeev Fernando.
“This mirrors what was done most effectively around the globe, such as in South Korea and the Czech Republic,” said Dr. Peter Michalos, founder of The Hamptons Health Society. “Both countries have some of the lowest infection rates and deaths.”
Stores can refuse to admit people not wearing masks, though face protection is not required for children younger than 2 years old. Pickups or deliveries can be arranged for anyone that cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, the order says.
Residents who need free masks to go grocery shopping can email email@example.com. Warren worked closely with 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 personal protective equipment to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.
Directions on how to make a face covering or mask can be found on the Rogers Memorial Library Instagram page @rogersmemoriallibrary and Warren’s personal Instagram page @mayorwarren. There are also U.S. Surgeon General instructions on how to do so on the CDC website.