After receiving shipments of disposable face masks from friends and relatives from China, 17-year-old Weston Yang decided to distribute about 1,000 of them free throughout his community.
“Things are opening up and a lot of people are just walking around without wearing masks,” said Yang, who lives in Carmel Valley and will be entering his senior year at Canyon Crest Academy. “Coronavirus is still an issue, it’s not over yet.”
Yang said he’s given away more than 100 masks so far. Through the social media site Nextdoor, he invited local residents to meet him at Solana Ranch Park on the weekend of June 6-7. He held another meetup the next weekend at Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park, and he plans to continue to hold similar meetups at local parks until his supply of masks runs out.
Yang said the people who have shown up to collect masks have been grateful for his efforts. He also said he wants to encourage his neighbors to stay safe. Public health restrictions are slowly being lifted, and many local residents have been anxiously anticipating a return to normal.
Protests against racism and police brutality taking place throughout the country have also caused concerns about how the thousands of protesters, often standing shoulder to shoulder at events nationwide, might exacerbate the coronavirus crisis.
In San Diego County as of mid-June, there are approximately 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 300 deaths, according to county data. Businesses that are reopening, including restaurants and retail establishments, require customers to wear face masks to help curb the spread.
“[I want to] tell people to stay safe and still wear masks, even though … people are getting used to it and not really protecting themselves from it anymore,” Yang said.
Carmel Valley residents with the Nextdoor app can keep track of Weston’s giveaway dates.