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Local public health officials weigh in on staying safe while protesting during COVID-19

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 18:28:50-04

This weekend, many protests are scheduled in Central Texas and across our nation.

25 News spoke with local public health officials to get tips to help you stay safe while practicing your first amendment rights.

For nearly two weeks, we’ve seen thousands of people marching to protest police brutality and social injustice following the death of George Floyd.

While masks were worn by many, some in the crowds were not protecting themselves in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The American Public Health Association stance on racism is they’ve declared that racism is a public health crisis and it needs our attention right now," said Dr. Brenda Gray.

The city of Waco supports peaceful protests but warn people to take the necessary precautions not to spread the virus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is something we know we will find a vaccine for, so it won't go on forever. Racism, however is something that has been going on for a long period of time. I felt like people think like, “I’ll put on my mask, I’ll go out and show my support, because it’s a worth while cause,” said Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez.

The protests in Central Texas have been peaceful.

Demonstrators should also remember to practice social distancing.

“I just feel like the fact that we were able to have a peaceful protest, and have so many people show up. It was a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez.

Experts are reminding protesters that we are still in a pandemic, so it is important to take extra steps to stay safe to protect you and those around you.

“People should be wearing their face coverings, and they should try to maintain at least six feet of distance. On another note of public health, we want people to be hydrated. The temperatures are rising,” said Dr. Brenda Gray.

Another tip Dr. Gray suggests is to bring hand sanitizer with you.

Dr. Gray also recommends that people with underlying health conditions stay home and find other ways to support such as reaching out to your legislature or participating in advocacy efforts online.