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Face shields aren’t enough; wear masks, too

To the editor:

I am a camp owner on Lake Placid who shops at the Hannaford supermarket. When I first arrived this spring, I found some Hannaford checkout clerks wearing only face shields, without masks. I immediately telephoned the supermarket manager to advise her that without masks, checkout clerks can potentially be exhaling viral respiratory fluids down on all of the products they are processing for payment. Face shields are a critical component of personal protective equipment, but primarily for the party wearing the shield. By now we have all seen health care providers wearing face shields, but also always wearing masks at the same time. A face shield keeps the respiratory fluids of others away from the face of an individual wearing a shield, particularly from his/her eyes. However, it is the mask that retains the respiratory fluids of the party wearing the shield, thereby protecting others.

In the case of Hannaford checkout clerks, who may be asymptomatic or in early stages of infection, they are passing every purchased item under their shields, each item being exposed to their respiratory fluids. Despite my call to the manager, on my subsequent return to the supermarket I observed even more checkout clerks and other staff wearing only face shields.

I urge all of your readers who may shop at Hannaford to only check out their purchases with clerks wearing masks.

Very truly yours.

Steven C. Rother

South Orange, New Jersey

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