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Public reminded facemasks, even in extreme heat, are required at Baltimore City pools

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 20, 2020

BALTIMORE — With temperatures climbing more people may decide to visit public pools as a way to escape the heat. Officials are reminding the public, unless you're physically in the pool, you must wear a face mask.

"As people enter the pool our staff is informing people before they enter the pool area, they must have on a face covering," said Reginald Moore, executive director for Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Department. "When you're in the pool area it is the job of our lifeguards as well as our pool operators to make sure that we are enforcing that rule and regulation. If you're in the pool you do not have to wear one."

WMAR-2 News visited two pool locations Tuesday and found no one aside from pool staff wearing a mask. That's because every member of the public was in the pool.

"I wish I could stay in here all day," said Stacey Harris.

Harris was with her family at John D. Murdoch pool in the Oliver neighborhood. She said the pool offered a reprieve from the heat and the mask.

"Normally I sweat like crazy," she said. "I feel like you can’t can’t breathe in that thing. It’s stifles your breathing but it’s a necessity."

Over at Paterson Park, those in the pool relayed the same sentiment.

"When I was on the grass with it on," said Magdala Norton, "I had to pull it down a little because it's so hot out. It's better to be in the water. It's just too hot for the masks."

While mask are a preventive measure against COVID-19 doctors says extreme heat can cause issues.

""Wearing a mask increases your body temperature. It increasing the work your heart and lungs have to do and you have to be very careful that you don’t overheat just because you’re wearing a mask so it’s even more important to stay apart from people and if you have to be outside, it’s probably better just to stay farther apart from people and not necessarily wear a mask," said Dr. Clifford Mitchell, director of environmental health at the Maryland Department of Health.

Extreme heat can also cause bacteria to grow on a mask if you're not regularly washing reusable masks.