An initiative in Winston-Salem has begun to combat COVID-19 with a goal of providing everyone access to facemasks. They'll be widely distributed throughout the community as part of a new program called Mask the City.

Mayor Allen Joines, local business leaders, healthcare professionals, and church organizers are urging residents to begin wearing the new masks and continue social distancing through May 31. The masks are designed and produced — up to 900,000 of them per week — locally. 

Mayor Joines says distribution efforts are already underway.

"According to preliminary tests, these masks offer an excellent protective barrier and reduce the likelihood that anyone who's wearing this mask will share their germs with someone else," says Joines. "And this mask can be washed up to 25 times without degrading its effectiveness."

Many local businesses and organizations have committed to purchasing large numbers of the masks to provide to their employees. Roughly 60,000 will be distributed at no cost to low-income and at-risk residents through community and faith-based organizations. They'll also be available for individual purchase at Lowes Foods locations throughout Forsyth County beginning Friday. 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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