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Masking Monroe County

A person wearing a mask waits to cross the street on Mt. Hope Avenue
Max Schulte
A person wearing a mask waits to cross the street on Mt. Hope Avenue

Monroe County is now echoing the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control that people wear a cloth face covering when they are out in public, especially in areas that make social distancing difficult, like the grocery store or a pharmacy.

County Executive Adam Bello joined United Way of Greater Rochester President and CEO Jaime Saunders for a virtual news conference to demonstrate how to make a cloth mask at home, and explain where people can donate their homemade masks.

Bello said Dr. Michael Mendoza, the county’s public health commissioner, is supporting the CDC recommendations because it's one way to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Covering your face anytime you are in public is just like coughing and sneezing into your elbow when you're sick,” Bello said. “It keeps germs to yourself, and helps prevent you from unknowingly getting other people sick."

He said, though, that people should not move away from social distancing simply because they're wearing a mask. The most effective way to stop the spread is to stay at home.

To help supply the community with homemade face coverings, the county is partnering with the United Way for the "Monroe Mask-Making" initiative.

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Saunders said they're asking the community to deliver their homemade masks to any Goodwill location.

“Which in turn will be distributed to nonprofit agencies who've requested them, through United Way's central supply process.  For free," she said.

The goal is 50,000 homemade masks.

There's more information about the initiative at