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Lexington doctor addresses misconception of not needing face masks at outdoor events

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 10:36 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After several reports of people not wearing facial coverings at outdoor events, there seems to be a mask misconception that local health experts are trying to clear up.

“I think there’s a feeling that you’re outside, you’re in your own seat, that there may be enough separation between people that you don’t need it,” Lexington Emergency Physician Dr. Ryan Stanton said. “The problem is, as we increase the number of people at these events and decrease that distancing, it does increase that potential for spread.”

Reports of people not wearing facial coverings outside are plaguing everything from high school up to professional sports, weddings, and other outdoor events.

Dr. Stanton is also the medical director for NASCAR’s safety team. While he said in motorsports there has been a no-tolerance policy for not wearing masks, other venues may not be as vigilant.

“We’ve seen everything from places that say we’re going to allow full fans with no rules on masks or anything like that to places that say they’re allowing a limited number of fans and requiring masks and say if you don’t wear the mask they’ll kick you out,” Stanton said.

While Stanton said there is a decreased risk of transmission while outdoors, there are reports of outside gatherings where COVID-19 has spread so the threat is still there.

So, regardless of the differing level of enforcement at any given event, Stanton said your best forms of prevention will remain face masks and social distancing.

“As we increase the number of people at games and increase the frequency of these events, we’re going to increase the possibility of spreading COVID-19,” Stanton said.

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