MONTPELIER — The state will distribute up to 300,000 cloth face coverings to the public, emergency responders and select agencies throughout the month of August, according to a statement released by the office of Gov. Phil Scott.

The masks were donated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before being procured by the State Emergency Operations Center.

As of Aug. 1, face coverings are mandatory in all public places in Vermont. While wearing a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing and other mitigation measures, public health experts advise that masks help limit the spread of COVID-19 and should be worn in public when physical distancing is not possible.

In a statement, Scott said masks help slow the spread of COVID.

“I’m so proud of Vermonters for stepping up to keep their families, friends and neighbors safe, and I’m thankful to our federal, state and local partners who are helping to get these free masks to communities across the state,” he said.

Vermont Emergency Management, the Health Department, the Agency of Transportation and the Vermont National Guard are facilitating the distribution. The release said 200,000 masks have already gone out or will soon go out to towns, school nurses, community action agencies, the Vermont Department of Health Equity Team and district offices, emergency response agencies, the Vermont National Guard and food distribution sites.

Vermonters may access these free face coverings through their towns. Municipalities are responsible for distributing the masks and many are working with their emergency services departments, which are usually the local fire departments and police.

Visit vem.vermont.gov/maskdistribution to find a local contact to obtain a face mask. If a town is not listed, local officials may not have requested their allotment or provided contact information.

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