Times of challenge have always summoned the greatness of our people. We saw it in the scrap drives and liberty bond campaigns during World War II. We saw it after 9/11 when Americans rushed toward tragedy rather than away from it to save lives. And we see that spirit again today with the simple act of wearing a mask.
As COVID-19 cases surge and deaths mount, medical experts and our own doctors tell us that wearing a mask in public settings is a powerful tool to protect ourselves and those around us. If enough Americans wore masks enough of the time in places where they congregate we could sharply reduce transmission and quell the coronavirus.
That’s why I signed an executive order recently requiring face coverings in the state of Arkansas. Many governors have issued similar orders across the country and many more could follow suit.
Encouragingly, a new survey released Friday from the COVID Collaborative and Hart Research shows that Americans are strongly on our side.
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The survey found that 86% of Americans believe wearing a mask in nearly all public settings would be effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Large majorities of Americans — eight in ten —- approve of their state or local government enacting such requirements.
Americans are worried and clearly want leaders to act to protect them. Seven in ten Americans think the worst of the virus is yet to come, two-thirds report infections are increasing in their state, and more than three in five are highly concerned that someone in their family will contract the virus.
The case for wearing a mask is persuasive. Our people see that a mask can be a powerful tool in getting back to some sense of normal — by reopening our schools, workplaces and the faith-based institutions where we like to gather. Wearing a mask shows decency and respect and caring for everyone, particularly those who are ill, elderly or most at risk.
At a time of national crisis, Americans have always stepped forward to lend a helping hand. I see it every day all across my state. Health care workers on the front lines of saving lives; essential workers working in energy, agriculture or defense; and the thousands of volunteers participating in contact tracing, providing meals to the elderly and vulnerable, and tutoring and mentoring youth to avoid learning loss.
The traditional acts of compassion that promote the healing touch of human interaction are not available to us when we are advised to be socially distant. But everyone can show their compassion for others by wearing a mask.
A mask is the uniform of a responsible citizen.
Those who protect the security and health of America by wearing masks are serving the cause of freedom. By taking action together to wear masks we can bring this virus to its knees and get back to normal life more quickly. We love our country by caring for its wellbeing. And we salute that commitment by wearing a mask.