1. We request that mask wearing not be mandatory in Duval County, and the City of Jacksonville, Florida.
2. It is our effort for each individual to have the freedom for individually determining the wearing of a mask in public where social distancing may not be able to be practiced.
3. We support voluntary efforts in the community to uphold sanitary procedures and deny mandates.
The issuance of medical exemption from wearing masks is in alignment with research that has found masks can inhibit the wearer's breathing if worn for extended periods of time, particularly in cases where the person has an existing respiratory illness, is engaging in high intensity activities, or risks heat-related illness.
Surgical masks and fabric masks are porous and wearing one may give people a false sense of protection thus emboldening them to ignore recommendations that are most effective, like staying away from other people and can inadvertently encourage people to touch their face more. Moisture breeds pathogens, and if people don’t wash the mask well enough or regularly, that could increase the risk of infection to the wearer. Seeing people around us wearing masks can also heighten anxiety about coronavirus, give false impressions of risk or safety, and exacerbate discrimination against the disabled.
As we phase into reopening and spend prolonged periods of time in public, the voluntary measures like social distance and sanitation become a more viable option than the issuance of mandates for wearing masks.
CDC, March 2, 2020 stated:
"Surgical Masks are not recommended at this time by the CDC to prevent transmission of coronavirus. This is because surgical masks, which are largely ineffective in preventing transmission of COVID-19, are relatively loose-fitting and only protect from large respiratory droplets. They are not effective in filtering or protecting against small respiratory droplets that can carry coronavirus and cause infection. Some experts believe that the masks may actually increase the risk of transmission due to improper use, more frequent touching of face to reposition the mask, and a false sense of security of protection, making it less likely that you would wash your hands."