Should volunteers wear masks while in the kitchen or on deliveries for Open Arms?
It’s a question we are hearing from many people who are wanting to volunteer their time with us during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
At this time, the answer is no.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that people who are healthy wear face masks. In fact, the only people who are advised to wear masks are individuals who are sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19, or healthcare workers/caregivers who are face-to-face with patients. This is especially important as there continues to be an extreme shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) available in our community.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection. WHO goes on to say that masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, and if you wear one, you must know how to properly clean and sanitize them, and how often to exchange them for a new mask.
So, what ARE we doing to protect Open Arms’ volunteers?
We are taking every precaution to prioritize volunteer, staff and client safety:
- We are screening all volunteers and visitors to our building. Anyone with or living with someone who has had respiratory symptoms or a fever in the past 7 days is asked not to come in to the building. In addition, anyone who has travelled on a plane in the past 14 days is asked to temporarily not volunteer.
- We are encouraging frequent hand washing and social distancing. In fact this week you will see more clear social distancing recommendations taped on our floors.
- We have reduced the amount of volunteers and staff members in our building at one time.
- We are more frequently cleaning and sterilizing.
We are so grateful for our volunteers of all ages and backgrounds! We only ask that if you are in one of the risk groups, you consider your safety before coming to volunteer with us. Truly – our number one goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Things will continue to change, so please know that we will monitor and keep up to date with the safety recommendations being made by official agencies. As such, our recommendations about wearing masks could evolve as we move forward.
As always, we are grateful for your generosity and open hearts. Thank you for all you do.
More information on wearing face masks can be found here: