As Americans begin taking road trips or visiting touristy towns, not all tourists are packing face masks, NBC News reports.
The lack of protective measures that some visitors are taking has some locals concerned.
“It’s been a big shock to the system ‘cause we have found that a sizable number of folks coming and visiting aren’t taking the mask wearing as seriously as folks here locally are,” Ben Sproul, mayor of the scenic Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, told MSNBC. “We’re in the vacation business here, so we hope that we can communicate that we really want everybody to come and have fun but also be as safe as possible.”
Experts told NBC that security workers, shop owners and police officers will all need to be trained in how to encourage people to wear face masks in public.
“This is going to be the new normal from now on and you’re going to have to train security guards and police officers to deal with this,” Brian Higgins, an expert on crowd management security at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, told NBC.
Just how Americans had to get used to new safety protocols after Sept. 11, 2001, experts say they will have to adjust to new health measures to combat COVID-19.
But requesting people to wear masks could be difficult when messaging about their effectiveness is unclear.
“In the beginning, the experts were saying it wasn’t necessary to wear the masks,” Higgins said. “Then these same experts changed their minds and said we should wear the masks. So, there is already pushback.”
He also pointed to President Donald Trump’s decision not to wear a mask as a factor impacting people’s decisions on whether to wear one.
As tourist destinations like Disney and Universal Studios set reopening plans, face masks are one of the requirements for visitors.
“There’s going to be language and lots of signage to reinforce the message that masks are required,” Higgens said, adding a gentle reminder to those missing masks will likely be needed.
There isn't any set guidelines on how masks and social distancing should be enforced.
Dr. Jacqueline Gollan, a psychologist and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said a lot of people just don’t think to wear a mask because it is out of the norm.
“You don’t normally wear face masks in theme parks,” Gollan said. “And because of all the warnings, you almost get a cry wolf-type situation. Because they themselves haven’t gotten ill, they tune out the warning signals.”
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