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Littered masks, gloves make a dangerous public health situation even worse, officials say

"It's disheartening to see that in our community."

SAN ANTONIO — If you're finding used gloves or masks in the parking lot at the grocery store, you're not alone.

Metro Health Assistant Director Mario Martinez said he's seen this type of littering going around on social media.

"Some pictures and videos of gloves, face coverings in parking lots," Martinez said. "But those have not been reported to the city."

Even so, Martinez said residents need to be more careful. Not only is this behavior bad for the environment, but he said it can also be detrimental to public health.

"It's disheartening to see that in our community," Martinez said. "Folks are using them to push around their shopping carts and touch surfaces where they may be in contact with the COVID-19 virus."

To make sure others aren't exposed to those germs, Martinez said you should carry a plastic bag with you or leave one in your car. You can throw your gloves or mask in there when you're done if there's no trash can nearby.

"Take the precaution," Martinez said. "Don't leave them on sidewalks or other places."

Martinez said there's also a proper way to take off your mask.

"Remove the mask from the ears, not touching the front of it," Martinez said. "Roll it up and dispose of it."

If you're wearing a reusable mask, you can take it off the same way. Martinez said reusable masks should be washed daily.

Martinez added that practicing safe social distancing is still the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"We have not reached the peak here in San Antonio," Martinez said. "So it's very important we follow the 'Stay Home, Work Safe' measures."

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