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Cover up or not? Some in St. Louis area risk going outside without a mask

"My major concerns are that people will equate the lifting of shelter-in-place with the virus being gone. The virus is still out there," said Dr. Alex Garza

ST. LOUIS — Ever since the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States, doctors, mayors, governors and other leaders have stressed that when you're out in public, wear a mask.

Health officials say covering your face will help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Alex Garza, Chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said just because the number of new COVID-19 patients at area hospitals declined over the past week, and, many businesses plan to reopen, now is not the time to relax.

"My major concerns are that people equate relaxation wrongly. The lifting of the shelter-in-place with the virus being gone, that's not equal. The virus is still out there," Dr. Garza said on Friday.

"I believe that," said shopper, Camryn Bain.

A mask-wearing Bain made herself a face mask, bought one on-line and recently bought a six-pack of masks at Target.

"I just don't understand why people won't wear them when they go outside. I believe that if a doctor or health official is telling us what precautions to take, then I'm gonna take them. Why not? I say just wear it and save a life," said Camryn.

But not everyone is on board with wearing a mask.

"I think wearing a little, $2 mask is a waste of time," said Ronald Bass.

Sunday, afternoon 5 On Your Side spotted Randall Bass and scores of other shoppers on the go at a popular strip mall in Clayton without covering their faces.

"I just don't think I can contract the virus without wearing a mask. I have one and I wear it sometimes, but I don't think the mask will stop the virus. I honestly don't," said Bass.

"I wear it inside the store," said LaShaye Giles.

But the minute she steps outside, Giles said she put her face mask in her purse with her hand sanitizer.

"Stepping outside your house, you're putting yourself at risk for contracting the virus, but I also believe if anything gets in that mask, it's sitting on your face so when I come outside, I take it off and let it air out," said Giles.

"I don't think I'm putting myself at any greater risk than leaving the house. I just stay six feet away from people." Giles added.

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