Coalition of healthcare providers and educators launch mask campaign
Residents of Santa Barbara County are going to see more than just holiday lights brightening up the community this year.
A coalition of the top health care providers and educators countywide announced the launch of the Masked and Mighty campaign on Tuesday in a virtual press conference via Zoom.
The campaign aims to “save lives, reduce the transmission of COVID-19, reopen businesses and schools and maintain access to health care.”
The partners hope to accomplish this through robust, positive messaging through advertising, “powering up Santa Barbara County” and providing educational materials for parents and educators.
Coalition members include: County of Santa Barbara, Sansum Clinic, Cottage Health, CenCal Health, Central Coast Medical Association, Lompoc Valley Medical Center, Lompoc Valley Pediatric Care Center, Marian Regional Medical Center, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara County Promotores Network, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Santa Barbara County Education Office, school districts throughout Santa Barbara County, UCSB and Westmont College.
Starting tonight and every night through Nov. 7, the coalition is encouraging businesses and households to “power up” with bright, multi-colored lights to “highlight our community’s commitment to reduce the transmission.”
This commitment includes staying home, avoiding large gatherings, respecting six feet of physical distance at all times and, most importantly, wearing a mask.
“The timing of Masked and Mighty cannot be more critical in our community,” said Dr. Dan Brennan, a pediatrician at the Sansum Clinic and one of the leaders of the coalition.
He said that the campaign was borne out of what he and his colleagues saw as “basic public health measures we could each take to reduce the spread starting to become politicized,” leading to “difficulty in controlling our infection rates.”
However, through a multi-faceted, bilingual campaign, the coalition hopes to spread awareness to community members of all ages.
The campaign has both an English and Spanish website, brightly-colored ads featuring local residents and images, print and digital media, web ads, a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram, coloring pages and more.
The campaign also features a PSA challenge, where residents of the county can record their own 30-second videos on “Why you are masked and mighty.”
The videos will be posted on the campaign’s website, and the coalition asks that the messages remain positive rather than political. There will be script ideas and self-taping suggestions on the website as well.
Most notably will be the “powering up” portion of the campaign.
So far, the Cottage Hospitals in Santa Barbara, Goleta and the Santa Ynez Valley, the Sansum Clinic sites at Pueblo, Pesetas, Hitchcock and Carpinteria; CenCal Health; the UCSB Henley Gate; Orcutt City Schools; and the county buildings in North and South County are powering up with vibrant lighting. In addition, KEYT and the Lobero Theater will project the campaign’s logo.
Local hardware stores are now stocking these multi-colored lights, including Home Depot in Goleta and Lompoc, the Home Improvement Center in Santa Barbara, Miner’s Ace in Nipomo and Lowe’s in Santa Maria, for any and all residents to power up their own homes.
“It’s critical that everyone adheres to the core safety principles that have contributed to the improvements across the county,” said Luke Ontiveros, Santa Maria-Bonita School District superintendent. “This is especially important as schools resume in-person learning.”
The campaign is funded by the Sansum Clinic, Cottage Health and the County of Santa Barbara, along with donations and marketing efforts from Sansum Clinic and Cottage Health.
The coalition intends to maintain the campaign until a vaccine, and will ramp it up if numbers rise or other circumstances come up.
“We have learned how to prevent its spread. We’ve learned that a community’s commitment to prevention efforts work. We have learned…that masks help contain the small droplets when we exhale,” said Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons, an infectious disease and internal medicine specialist at Cottage Health. “Now is the time to commit and stay Masked and Mighty.”
Businesses looking to join the campaign efforts and/or request a Masked and Mighty poster are encouraged to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and “power up” with lighting.