BANGOR, Maine — As seasons change in Maine, so do the outfits. Since March, one accessory has remained a constant for many in the state and the country, a face mask.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a central topic of conversation for months around our nation. If you had to symbolize the virus, you would probably associate COVID-19 coronavirus with masks.
The need for mask-wearing is why the Community Health Leadership Board (CHLB) started a 'Mask Up For ME' campaign last month. Public and safety experts, the Bangor School System, and local non-profits all took part in forming the group.
Patty Hamilton is the Public Health Director for the City of Bangor and says CHLB worked on major social problems but has now shifted its focus.
"We recognized pretty early on that we need to work on the masks," Hamilton said, "We want people to stay healthy, so we can stay open and function as a society."
Hamilton added that businesses across the state and in Bangor opened up for economic reasons, not health reasons.
The Mask Up For ME campaign began as a social media push to encourage Mainers to continue to wear masks after flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases and before a vaccine is available.
Now that the program received state funding, it can be promoted on more platforms like television and radio.
"We know people listen to all kinds of things; they don't just choose one avenue, so the more people we can touch in different ways, the more people become aware."
The campaign is also promoting mask donations for those who can't afford their own. At various locations around the city, you can drop off hand-made masks or store-bought ones.
The CHLB has also paired with the United Way of Eastern Maine to deliver masks to those who need them. Hamilton added that if you need a mask, you'll get one.
To learn more about the program, how to donate or pick up a mask, click below.