ANCA Supports Face Mask Requirements

Scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests that face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19, and as such, ANCA supports nature centers implementing face mask requirements in social settings. By doing so, nature centers will undoubtedly save lives.

Since this pandemic began, the scientific understanding of face masks and coronavirus transmission has changed dramatically. We now know that face masks are one of the most important tools to fight coronavirus transmission (though when possible, should be used in combination with other methods). In the recent weeks, developments have included:

  • The CDC called on Americans to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • As Colleen Dillenschneider reports, face mask requirements are now the most important factor for people to feel safe to visit a cultural organization, ranking as a higher factor than even a coronavirus vaccine.
  • One recent meta-study of scientific literature found that cloth masks likely reduce coronavirus transmission by at least 30%, if not more. The same study projected that COVID-19 will kill 85,000 more Americans by November 1 if the current trajectory holds — but that if 95% of Americans wore cloth masks, we would prevent 40,000 of those deaths. 
  • Current evidence suggests that not only do masks reduce transmission to other people, but they also protect the mask-wearer.

Nature center administrators are community leaders, and implementing face mask requirements is an opportunity to show strong leadership. By requiring masks, we show our visitors and communities that we care about them.


WHAT ANCA MEMBERS ARE SAYING:

“First and foremost, as an employer we have the duty to provide a safe working environment for our employees. Requiring guests to wear masks while inside is a reasonable requirement to ensure the safety of our team members during a pandemic. 

We had to carefully think through the policy to ensure we were sensitive to existing medical conditions, age, and other factors, but all of our guests have been willing to wear masks. We provide disposable ones for free and offer cloth masks for sale. We have a leadership team member on call to deal with any disgruntled guests that our employees may encounter, but have not found this to be needed thus far. 

 

We have also had to be very sensitive to changing conditions with so many employees working outdoors in the heat of summer. We schedule projects and programs during cooler times of day and ensure social distancing can be appropriately met if wearing a mask is not feasible.”

— John Myers, ANCA Board Member, Executive Director of Indian Creek Nature Center

"Woldumar has required campers to have a mask at camp. We made it clear to campers and families when to expect to have a mask on and when one will not be needed. If tolerated by the child and developmentally appropriate, campers will be asked to wear masks at drop-off, pick-up, indoors, and during more group focused activities where physical distancing is challenging. The staff works hard to break up the time throughout the day to give everyone a mask break while outside and 6 ft apart. Our campers have shown great reliance and understanding this summer. They understand and share with staff their struggles with masks while also sharing their understanding that masks help keep camp safe."

— Daniel Auer, Program Director at Woldumar Nature Center

“We had an amazing commitment from staff, children and parents. The wee ones (5-6) needed a bit of periodic coaching but never did we have push back. We did some education with our Covid Super Hero, education is everything. And we also had contracts for parents, staff to be sure everyone was committed to this. We also made a sweet Wild Bear mask that everyone wears with pride!”

— Jill Dreves, Executive Director of Wild Bear Nature Center