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Why masks could be the biggest key to reopening the economy

There's no conspiracy, but more elected leaders are now saying in order to reopen our economy we will need a cover-up — for our faces that is.

ST. LOUIS — No conspiracy, but more elected leaders are now saying in order to reopen our economy we will need a cover-up.

For our faces, that is.

"Protecting your fellow Americans by wearing a face-covering in public is a collective act of patriotism," said Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) Wednesday.

But like everything else in our politics what's patriotic can depend on your perspective — and now that seems to have spread to our pandemic response.

"It's been a big topic over the last couple of days," said McGraw Milhaven who, along with his co-host 5 On Your Side's Kelly Jackson, put the question to his audience on 550 AM KTRS. 

Milhaven said from politicians changing their stance on masks to debates over freedom and fear, all the mask talk is starting to wear on him. 

"Whether it's perceived or not, you get almost a stink eye from some people who are not wearing masks like, 'Oh, you're one of those that...you believe in that, don't you?'" said Milhaven of his experience wearing a mask in public. 

Wednesday, BJC Healthcare announced that all employees and patients at all of its hospitals must wear masks when around other people.

RELATED: Patients, visitors now required to wear face masks at BJC HealthCare facilities

And BJC's director of infection prevention Hilary Babcock, MD says it's a good policy for all of us.

"Now we know that if you get sick, you were actually putting people at risk for a couple of days before you develop those symptoms," said Babcock.

She says while out with your dog, or on a socially-distant walk the mask may not be a must.

"But if you're going into a public place where it's going to be hard to keep six feet of distance between you and everyone else, then it's better if everyone in that space is wearing a mask," she said. 

Babcock said the hope is patients will arrive at hospitals wearing at least a cloth mask, but if they don't have one, the hospital will give people a mask at the door.

More coronavirus coverage:

RELATED: Missouri Youth Soccer Association discusses new safety guidelines and return-to-play date

RELATED: ‘It’s going to be a new normal’ | St. Louis doctors stress importance of data-driven decisions in reopening

RELATED: Face masks would be required of employees, customers in St. Louis County when restrictions ease

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