August 24, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to make a global impact, a coalition of local partners aims to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus right here in Grinnell by encouraging and enabling mask-wearing. More than 30 states now mandate face-coverings in public and while Iowa is not on this list, the statistics prove favorably for wearing a mask. Research shows that wearing a mask, alongside physical distancing and washing hands, is a primary method to prevent spreading respiratory droplets which carry the virus.
“We now know that wearing a mask is the single most powerful prevention method in slowing this virus and it happens to be one of the simplest practices as well,” says Grinnell Mayor Dan Agnew. “While we do not intend to create a local mask mandate, we do want to encourage wearing masks as a way to get us back to our everyday activities.”
Since statewide shutdowns began in March, more than 160 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Poweshiek County with the majority falling in the 18–40 age range. Initial responses to the spread resulted in schools switching to online learning, businesses temporarily closing and tight regulations for any type of group activity. While these regulations have loosened in the past few months, local businesses and residents alike struggle for ways to respectfully find a new normal.
“It’s a difficult situation and obviously one that hasn’t really been experienced before, so we’re making our business decisions one day at a time,” says Joey Pagliai, owner of Pagliai’s Pizza. “The last thing we want is to create an environment where people can get sick.”
In an effort to support local businesses and citizens of Grinnell, the “Mask Up Grinnell” campaign will offer health and business resources, citywide activity updates and a variety of ways for individuals, businesses and organizations to order masks on its website, MaskUpGrinnell.com. All orders placed on the website by September 4offer wholesale pricing with opportunities for single and bulk quantities.
“This is a great opportunity for businesses and organizations to order masks for their employees or even visitors because there is no minimum order requirement for the mask options we’ve created; you can order one mask if that’s all you need!” says Rachael Kinnick, President & CEO of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. “There are also opportunities to order window clings, posters and other signage to encourage mask-wearing within offices and storefronts.”
“From the start of our conversations, we wanted to make it as convenient as possible for people to wear masks and find a way to feel comfortable wearing one among friends and colleagues,” says Shauna Callaway, Director of Poweshiek County Public Health. “If we can get to a point where mask-wearing and social distancing is an everyday practice, we will have greater opportunity to enjoy the activities that we choose.”
For mask orders and more information, visit MaskUpGrinnell.com. The “Mask Up Grinnell” campaign is sponsored by Brownells, the Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, the City of Grinnell, the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, Grinnell College, Grinnell Mutual, the Grinnell-Newburg School District and the Poweshiek County Department of Public Health.