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Firstly, yes, I know I desperately need a haircut. Thanks for noticing. But I cut my own hair once. True story. I blame postpartum hormones for that poor decision-making process. On the plus side, it’s now a classic, cautionary tale, and I can apply that hard-earned life lesson: no matter how shaggy I become, I will wait for a professional. (Edit: 3 weeks after I originally posted this, and 7+ weeks past due for a proper haircut, I totally trimmed my bangs.)

Secondly, and most importantly, the CDC recommends that everyone cover their faces when we’re out and about on essential business like grocery shopping and going to the pharmacy. Cloth face masks will help prevent community-spread of COVID-19 by minimizing “viral droplets” because some people who have COVID-19 don’t have symptoms and don’t know they’re sick: Your face mask protects the people around you; their face masks protect you.

The face mask recommendation does not change the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order: staying home and physical distancing is still the best, first line of defense to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The general public needs to save medical gear for our healthcare professionals working on the front lines. That’s why the CDC is recommending people make their own cloth face masks.

Click this link for easy to follow instructions to make your own mask.

I know what you’re thinking: My gosh! I’ve already canceled my vacation, I don’t go out with my friends, I’m working from home, I’m home-schooling the kids, I’m dealing with all this other stuff, and now you want me to sew masks, too?! This is a bridge too far!

But I promise it’s super-easy to make your own mask, and you probably already have the materials at your house.

Another true story: my lowest grade, ever, in all my years of school, was required sewing in 7th grade. I was an absolute menace when it came to sewing, so I opted for the easy “No Sew” method and made my mask out of a bandana and a couple of hair ties.

Executive Assistant Megan Szabla, who for reasons unknown doesn’t have a bandana (for reals, woman, how can you not own a bandana?!), fashioned her mask out of a scarf. She looks like she cares about public health AND is adorably jaunty. Way to go, Megan!

No scarf? No bandana? There are also lots of crafty people online in our community who are selling homemade cloth masks if you’re in a position to support someone else’s skills.

We can do this! We can work together to stay physically apart. We can help protect our friends, neighbors, and community members when we have to go out on essential business by wearing cloth masks. (We can even pretend we’re super-heroes protecting our secret identities, or pirates, or make sure no one really notices our unevenly trimmed bangs.)

Just remember: your mask protects the people around you, and their masks protect you.