The CDC issued guidelines last week asking everyone to wear face coverings in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. TGR photo.
Last week, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued nationwide instructions on how we should all be wearing masks or other cloth face coverings in public to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Many of us probably asked ourselves “what constitutes a proper face covering?” With N95 respirators and other commercially available masks in short supply, we searched through our house to see what else we could use. In mountain towns, a seemingly easy solution came in the form of a neck gaiter. Here in Jackson, the Teton Pass Ambassador is asking everyone parking atop Teton Pass to wear face covering while in the parking lot. Lots of small brands like Skida and Melanzana are even shifting their manufacturing to start making face masks. But the real question is: how well do these alternatives really work?
In a nutshell, your neck gaiter is better than not wearing a mask at all. But! Know that it will not offer the same protection as higher-grade N95 respirators. Most neck gaiters designed for winter sports or sun protection are simply too porous to offer enough of a filter for the wearer from outside pathogens. It does seem to be effective for anyone who is sick to wear it, as it can block saliva and other large airborne particles, but anyone with symptoms shouldn’t be out in the wild in the first place. Consider reading the CDC’s guidelines on how to make face coverings with more protection HERE.
BUFF®, the manufacturer of many of these neck gaiters, issued a statement on their website that reads:
BUFF® head and neckwear protects against many of nature’s elements. However, while our multifunctional headwear products cover the entire front of the face (nose, mouth, chin, and neck), they are not scientifically proven by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent you from: (1) contracting a virus/disease/illness or (2) passing a virus/disease/illness to someone else.
If / When BUFF® products are worn, in response to the April 3, 2020 Center for Disease Control (CDC) statement - “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” We encourage users not to circumvent the proper safety protocols of social distancing, quarantining, etc. suggested by the CDC.
Outside of face protection, continue to follow all guidelines on safe physical distancing between people. That means a minimum of six feet. If you do ski or choose to recreate in the mountains, please do not carpool or hitchhike with anyone who is not a housemate and KEEP IT MELLOW IN THE MOUNTAINS.