A broad cross-section of community leaders, including those from Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, joined Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines today to announce a new initiative called Mask the City to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in this area. The purpose of Mask the City is to provide everyone in Winston-Salem access to a mask and urge them to wear it as well as to continue social distancing for 40 days from April 22 through May 31. The masks will be widely dispersed throughout the community under the program.
William M. Satterwhite, III, JD, MD, Chief Wellness Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health, and his team designed the mask in conjunction with Renfro Corporation. Renfro is manufacturing the masks, which are called the Nightingale™ WS Protective Mask.
Renfro has the ability to make approximately one million masks a week at peak capacity and has earmarked the first 300,000 masks for Winston-Salem. The first shipment of approximately 30,000 masks was delivered to Winston-Salem on Monday, April 20, and distribution is underway.
“I’m challenging every person in Winston-Salem to continue practicing social distancing and to wear a mask every time they go outside to help dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Joines said. “I thank Dr. Satterwhite and his team for their entrepreneurship, Renfro for its willingness to produce the masks as well as the leadership of our two local healthcare organizations, the business community, government officials, faith-based organizations and other not-for-profit organizations for uniting our city under the Mask the City initiative.”
“The tagline for Mask the City is ‘Wear a mask. Love your neighbor. Protect yourself.’ It is imperative that we all do just that for 40 days to protect our community and change our trajectory for this summer.
“Our community has done a fantastic job of staying at home and flattening the curve,” said Jeff Lindsay, executive vice president and chief operations officer for Novant Health. “While masking won’t replace hand hygiene, social distancing and staying home, it’s another tool that we can use to keep each other safe. Mask the City will support our fight against the community spread of COVID-19 and help us get back to the people and places we love.”
Several of Winston-Salem’s businesses, not-for-profit organizations and the City of Winston-Salem have committed to purchasing large numbers of the masks to provide to their employees, and, in some cases, to their employees’ families and others. Mayor Joines estimates 60,000 or more masks will be made available at no cost to low-income individuals and other at-risk residents through a variety of community and faith-based organizations. A number of businesses, foundations, other organizations and private donors paid for the 60,000 masks.
To make sure there are enough masks for all local residents, the organizers of Mask the City ask that each person accept only one mask, even if offered masks by multiple organizations.
In addition, the masks will be available on Friday, April 24 for individual purchase at Lowes Foods on Robinhood Road, Reynolda Road and Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem and at the Lowes Foods in Lewisville, Bermuda Run and Kernersville.
The Winston-Salem Foundation has set up the Mask the City – Winston-Salem Fund that will be used to provide grants to qualified organizations (those otherwise meeting the Foundation’s guidelines and requirements) to purchase and distribute masks to residents of Winston-Salem and employees working at facilities in Winston-Salem. The primary focus will be on organizations assisting and reaching those with current incomes below the federal poverty guidelines, and a secondary focus will be healthcare workers.
Those who would like to contribute to the Mask the City – Winston-Salem Fund should go to wsfoundation.org/maskthecity or contact the Winston-Salem Foundation.
Additional information about the Mask the City initiative can be found at maskthecity.com and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @maskthecity. Nightingale WS Protective Mask product information is available at nightingalesafe.com.
To date, the following organizations have committed to either directly purchasing masks or contributing to offset the cost of making masks available to all: Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo Business; Allegacy Federal Credit Union; Anesthesia Care Services; Bob King Automotive Group; City of Winston-Salem; Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation; Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership; Excalibur Direct Marketing; Flow Companies; Flow Lexus; Forsyth County; Forsyth Technical Community College; Frank L. Blum Construction Co.; Front Street Capital; Greater Winston-Salem, Inc.; I. L. Long Construction Co. Inc.; Inmar; INV, LLC; Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton; Lowes Foods; Modern Automotive; Neill Group; Novant Health; Piedmont Triad Regional Council; Piedmont Triad Workforce Board; Quality Oil Company; Reynolds American; Sunshine Beverages; Teall Capital; Truist; Truliant Federal Credit Union; Volvo Cars Winston Salem; Wake Forest Baptist Health; Wake Forest University; Winston Starts; Winston-Salem Alliance and WPDA, Inc.
About the Renfro Nightingale WS Protective Mask:
- High stretch, high memory lycra for comfort around the head
- Washable and reusable
- An enlarged area for the nose and chin that aligns with the contours of the face to create a larger “breathing pocket” for the wearer
- Snug fit on the face