New study determines whether masks or social distancing is more effective fighting COVID-19

Published: July 27, 2020 4:35 PM EDT
Updated: July 27, 2020 9:44 PM EDT

Many businesses have begun suggesting and even requiring that customers and employees wear masks while in their locations. One of those businesses is Jason’s Deli in Cape Coral.

General Manager Lindsey Turner says protecting their employees and treating them like family is part of the reason she’s been there for 13 years. “Just the family environment and the culture that we create within the deli.”

Part of that family dynamic is keeping others safe. “Wearing the mask – not everybody is a fan of it, but we’re doing it to help each other out and protect each other.”

Diana Willis, Vice President of the Wilrock Group and with Jason’s Deli of SWFL, says that they started requiring masks early on as a part of the caring family-like culture.

“We kind of started that process early on because we started looking at the data and realizing that that’s what we needed to do,” Willis said.

New research from the American Medical Association, which studied 211 counties across 36 states, found three factors besides masks that are best for slowing the spread of coronavirus.

The first is temperatures in the 60s. The second is small population sizes. The third being social distancing.

Social distancing is said to be the best way to stop the spread of the virus. But we must utilize it more often, according to Dr. Brian Fischer.

“Not just some of the time – all of the time,” said Dr. Fischer, an infectious disease pediatrician with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Fischer, as one of the doctors who worked on the study,  doesn’t believe, however, that this is the time time to take our masks off and let our guards down.

“We can’t let down our guard,” Dr. Fischer urged.  “If we are going to be in enclosed areas, we need to be wearing masks,” he added.

At Jason’s Deli, they’re also trying to enforce social distancing, in addition to their mask policy.

We have stickers on the floors where they’re six feet apart from everybody so they keep their distance,” Turner said. 

They’ve even taken care to set up their tables differently. “Our tables are set up so they’re not completely occupied and six feet from everybody.”

Jason’s Deli in Cape Coral, doing all of this to keep that family-like support they are known for.

Turner admits it was a bit difficult to implement at first. But Willis assures everyone that because it’s so important, the company has it down now.

“Now it’s kind of like standard operating procedure and we’ve got our routines down pretty well,” Willis said.

Dr. Fischer believes that here in SWFL we have a unique issue. Our warm climate encourages people to meet outside in large groups initially. Then, retreat indoors into enclosed spaces. He describes both as “risky” behaviors.