San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Wednesday announced the launch of a public awareness campaign encouraging people to adhere to face covering requirements to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Using the hashtag #masktheSFup on social media, the campaign is intended to reach people ahead of Labor Day Weekend. It is part of a bigger push to reduce the number of new cases citywide as San Francisco prepares to reopen businesses and schools in the coming months.
"As we stretch into our seventh month in this pandemic, we are looking into new ways to capture people's attention," Breed said during a virtual briefing.
"We wanted to find out why [some] people aren't wearing face coverings and see if we can change their behavior because we're all safer when we cover our faces when we go out," Breed said. "And regularly wearing face coverings will help us keep San Francisco on a path of reopening that we so desperately need."
In addition to a social media presence, the multilingual campaign will employ posters, signage, digital billboards in public spaces and advertising on radio and television, in print and online. Additionally, a rap video put together by the African American Arts and Cultural District aims to reach young people.
Other partner organizations include the Latino Task Force, Self-Help for the Elderly, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Opportunities for All.
City health officials estimate that, if at least 80 percent of residents wear face coverings, San Francisco can prevent further COVID-19 outbreaks like the surge seen in June and July. A recent survey found that about 71 percent of city residents regularly wear masks in public.
Breed said she hopes the campaign can contribute to a culture shift.
"A lot of what happens when we talk about mask wearing has to be something that we get creative with, that we build into the culture of this city, this country," she said. "It's really about saving lives."
When asked during the briefing about a recent video that surfaced of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done inside a San Francisco salon without her face covered in violation of city health orders, Breed dismissed the incident violations, as well as President Donald Trump's comments about it.
"It's really unfortunate with everything happening in this country (and) ... this conversation has blown up in the way it has and distracted us from the real issue," Breed said. "The fact is we don't have good solid federal leadership that is helping to facilitate this COVID response."