COURT HOUSE - As you walk along the boardwalk or through the shopping district this season, you may encounter vested Social Distance Ambassadors, a new effort by the county to remind individuals to keep their distance to help slow COVID-19's spread.
These ambassadors are part of a campaign called "Six Feet Saves" and will be monitoring high volume areas, such as boardwalks, to remind individuals to stay 6 feet away from each other. They also will give residents and visitors educational materials on how to prevent being exposed to the coronavirus.
“As public places begin to reopen, it is important to continue to take proper precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and social distancing,” said Kevin Thomas, health officer, Cape May County. “The Cape May County Department of Health wants to remind residents and visitors to continue taking action to slow the spread of COVID-19; by protecting yourself and others you can help save lives.”
The campaign was launched May 15 in Cape May under the direction of Liberty Kocis and Megan Santiago, health educators at the county Department of Health.
“People were very positive,” Kocis said. “They were respectful of the information, and if they weren’t interested, they said ‘No, thank you.’ We were handing out some masks and hand sanitizer, along with some educational materials. There were no major hiccups.”
The initial ambassadors are 20 members of the Medical Reserve Corps, a group of medical and non-medical volunteers, who are trained to help in any type of emergency. Wearing vests with the county seal on them so they are easily identified, these ambassadors will place tables and pull a wagon full of materials to provide information on everything from how to put on a facial mask to answering general questions about the virus. Santiago and Kocis will be out with the teams to answer more specific medical questions.
“This is not a policing group,” Santiago noted. “It’s for positive education. It’s a positive twist to educating people about how to continue social distancing, washing hands and wearing face masks. While wearing a mask is not mandated while you are outside, you should wear a mask if you can’t maintain social distancing.”
The ambassadors have already been in Wildwood, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon and Stone Harbor, encountering some people wearing masks, some carrying them and some not wearing them.
“As we develop our team, we are looking for others who want to volunteer their time as Social Distance Ambassadors,” Kocis said. “We’ll be continuing this through the summer, rotating our schedule in the different towns, weather permitting.
“The volunteers have signed up to be in their own town, which is great because people see someone they know, a friendly face,” Santiago added.
Anyone 18 years old or older can volunteer to be an ambassador or a member of the Medical Reserve Corps by visiting cmchealth.net or calling (609) 463-6692.
To contact Karen Knight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.