Joplin shoppers weigh in on wearing masks, local health expert offers advice

JOPLIN, Mo. – At the Half of Half store in Joplin, you can find half the masks about half the time on shoppers.

“I’m kinda 50/50 on, you know, some people say it protects you, it protects me, and some other professionals don’t agree, so I’m kind of in the middle,” expressed Carolyn Plassman, one Joplin shopper.

“Unless you have the money to be tested or the ability to be tested everyday, I think that you should wear a mask. You’re just taking a chance,” voiced Jenny Rice, another shopper from Miami, Oklahoma.

A mask may not be the most glamorous accessory, but a pharmacy manager in Webb City says we should still be taking this pandemic seriously, following the advice of the CDC.

“Regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, it’s great to wear a mask because a lot of cases are asymptomatic where you don’t show any signs, but you could still spread the virus, so it’s a great idea to still wear it just to help spreading it, in case you do have it and you’re not aware of it,” explained Kerri Kelley of Express RX in Webb City.

Still, even if you are taking precautions, it’s easy to slip up when it comes to the right way to wear a mask.Key Factors Infographic how to wear a mask, info from the CDC

“The biggest thing is to make sure that your nose and mouth are covered at all times. If you do take it off, you wanna make sure that you wash your hands each time because you don’t wanna touch your face, your mouth, your eyes or anything else with your hands, and then if you do have the cloth ones that are reusable, I would wash them at least every day,” Kelley recommended.

Some businesses are requiring people to wear masks in order to gain entry to their stores, and while Plassman says she complies, she also questions the good it will do.

“If somebody asks me to wear a mask, or if I know they’ll feel more comfortable if I wear one, then I’ll wear one. Or, if there’s a sign on the door that says I have to wear one, or if I’m at the doctor’s office and they say I have to wear one, I’m fine with it, but if it’s just up to me, and I’m keeping distance from everybody, then I’m not. I don’t wear one,” said Plassman.

For older ones and people with compromised immune systems, though, there’s no such thing as being too safe.

“I just wish everyone would be aware that we’re kinda living in a bubble here, but we don’t know when it’s going to strike and I just wish everyone would take precautions,” said Rice.

Hand-washing and hand sanitizer are also good ways of protecting yourself, especially after you’ve been out in public places.

Express RX of Webb City is offering free hand sanitizer while supplies last.