Playing golf while social distancing? Here’s what you need to know

Reprinted from; 3/19/20

Written by Randall Mell

So, is it OK to continue to play golf at a country club or public course?

This week the state of Washington, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, issued an emergency proclamation mandating the closures of certain businesses and public spaces. You may be reassured knowing that as difficult as the challenge has been in that state, golf courses were specifically listed among those businesses that are allowed to remain open.

You can’t go to a bowling alley in the state right now. You can’t go to a gym or fitness center, or to any kind of sporting event with more than 50 people gathering, but you can still get a tee time and play.

Wherever you live, though, experts recommend you take precautions if you’re going to play golf.

“Golf courses are shared public spaces, so there is an increased risk of the viral transmission and spread that can compromise your safety and those you interact with,” says Geoff Dreher, a sports medicine physician and assistant professor and team doctor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. “So, you need to be aware of your potential risk, based on age, medical conditions, and of the risk for those you interact with on a regular basis, like family members, friends and co-workers. But, if golf courses are remaining open, as they are, I think it’s realistic that people are going to go and play.

“You just need to be aware of the risks and do your best to reduce those risks.”

And if you’re among those who are at more risk to the virus, you may need to think twice about playing.

“Those who are older than 65, those who have medical conditions, the big ones being heart, lung diseases or diabetes, or if you are immunocompromised at any age, you have to be a little more cognizant of your risks, and think about whether it’s acceptable, to your health,” Dreher said. “Golfing would be on the milder end of sports and risks, but there are still risks with those shared spaces, especially if you are going into locker rooms and dining areas, or where there’s contact with people moving through.”

If you are going to play, Dreher said it’s advisable to disinfect your clubs and any equipment before and after you play.

And when you arrive at the course, if there’s a valet waiting to take your clubs to the staging area, you may want to wave him off and take your clubs yourself.

“You want to do as much as you can to keep that 6 feet of distance between people, so reducing your risks,” Dreher said. “If you’re in a group, that means keeping that distance, covering any coughs, walking the course instead of using carts that may be touched multiple times throughout a week, avoiding locker rooms or dining areas, maybe leave the flag or pin in.”

So, it’s not advisable to give your buddy’s new driver a try.

“More information is coming out that the COVID-19 virus can stay on objects for several days,” Dreher said.

And it’s not advisable to high five or shake hands before, during or after a round.

“Bring hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands as much as you can,” Dreher said.

And what about grabbing lunch at the turn, or after the round?

“Avoiding as many people possible handling food is beneficial, and so is avoiding sitting in the dining area,” he said. “If you are going to eat there, get it as takeout, just to limit your time in those confined spaces, or shared contact areas.”

And what about paying? Should you use a credit card or money?

“I can’t confirm this, but I would assume [germs] stay on credit cards longer than money, but there’s a higher risk with money, because it’s more likely to change hands among multiple people, where your credit card is more likely to only be handled by you,” Dreher said.

So, if you’re wondering whether to keep playing, yes, there’s risk, but the experts say it’s manageable in golf’s large, open spaces.

Coronavirus: Chinese school gives pupils a hat tip to teach them how to keep their distance

Reprinted from the South China Morning Post

Written by Holly Chik

  • Pupils given headwear modeled on a style worn by officials a thousand years ago to reinforce the message that they must stay a meter away from each other
  • One legend says the hats were given long extensions to stop courtiers whispering among themselves when meeting the emperor

An ancient Chinese hat has joined face masks and hand sanitizers as one of the weapons in the fight against Covid-19.

A primary school in Hangzhou in the east of the country took inspiration from the headgear worn by officials in the Song dynasty, which ruled China between 960 and 1279, to reinforce lessons on social distancing.

Pupils at the school wore their own handmade versions of the hats, which have long extensions, or wings, to keep them at least a metre (3ft) apart when they returned to school on Monday, state news agency Xinhua reported.

One legend says that the first Song emperor ordered his ministers to wear hats with two long wings on the sides so that they could not chitchat in court assemblies without being overheard, according to Tsui Lik-hang, a historian at City University of Hong Kong.

Pupils at a school in Hangzhou made their own versions of the hats. Photo: Weibo

Pupils at a school in Hangzhou made their own versions of the hats. Photo: Weibo

However, he warned that this story came from a much later source, adding: “The Song emperors, in fact, were also depicted to have worn this kind of headwear with wing-like flaps.”

The World Health Organisation recommends that people stay at least a metre apart to curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

“If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the Covid-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease,” the global health body advises.

An early childhood education specialist said the hats were a good way to explain the concept of social distancing to young children, who find it difficult to understand abstract concepts.

The pupil’s head gear is designed to drive home the social distancing message. Photo: Weibo

The pupil’s headgear is designed to drive home the social distancing message. Photo: Weibo

“As children can see and feel these hats, and when the ‘wings’ hit one another, they may be more able to understand the expectations and remember to keep their physical distance,” said Ian Lam Chun-bun, associate head of the department of early childhood education at The Education University of Hong Kong.

How to Build Now for the Future

For anyone, especially those of us in sales, these last three months have been very unique and challenging. What you do right now will have an effect on what is going to happen in 3, 6, 9, or even 12 months from now. Ask yourself this: What are you doing today, this moment, in the next 10 mins, next week, and next month to set yourself up for the future? There are vital actions that one can do to make sure you have a successful future. Some actions are things that you have not done in a while and some might involve things you have never done, but nevertheless action is required to ensure success.

Here are some proactive ideas for you to consider to help grow your business:

  • Cold Calling
  • Networking
  • Reviewing the last 5 years of sales data (at a minimum)
  • Revisiting old clients who haven’t purchased from you in awhile
  • Calling and checking in on your clients and prospects
  • Reviewing vertical market opportunities
  • Calling on companies who have co-op marketing funds they may need to use
  • Seek out companies that have their fiscal year ending soon
  • Turn any PPE-only customers to lasting relationships

I am not saying any of this is foolproof, but these are definitely tactics you can start implementing today to keep your pipeline full. The worst thing you can do is just sit and wait for a deal to jump out and say here I am. Since that’s unlikely to happen, now is the time to work harder and smarter than ever. All too often, it’s easy to say that you’re having a bad year and chalk it up to the pandemic, but would that be true? No matter what happens, there will be normalcy again. It’s up to you to take advantage now by implementing some new sales strategies and putting in the work to be successful long into the future.

Companies are getting creative with masks and other PPE

Reprinted from Forbes Magazine 5-19-20

Unique Coronavirus Masks Allow You To Gobble Food Like Pac-Man, Sip Through A Straw, Or Show Your Smile

Written by Marla Milling

Imagine going to a restaurant with your pandemic face mask securely placed around your nose and mouth and then leaving it on as you enjoy your meal.

Impossible, you say?

Maybe not.

An Israeli company, Avtipus Patents and Inventions, has created a prototype for a remote controlled mask that it plans to manufacture in the coming months. Company officials have already applied for a patent.

Here’s how it works: there’s a slot on the front of the mask to allow food to pass through. All a wearer has to do is squeeze a lever (similar to a hand break on a bicycle) to control opening and closing the mask.

Asaf Gitelis, company vice president, says it also opens automatically when the fork is coming to the mask.

Straw mask allows face mask wearers to drink.
Stay hydrated while wearing a face mask. ELLENMACOMBER.COM

A designer in New Orleans found a solution for mask wearers who want to enjoy a cocktail or other beverage without taking their masks off.

Ellen Macomber got the idea when one of her friends called and said, “I was just leaving the grocery store and I wanted a to-go drink, but I couldn’t because of the mask.”

That sparked the inspiration of designing a mask with a hole for a straw.

Ellen and her husband were already feeling the economic pinch of the pandemic. He lost his job and all of her projected 2020 income from festivals and shows dried up instantly due to event cancellations. Even after she had to move her studio into her house, she wanted to find a way to help herself instead of applying for government assistance and loans.

The straw mask idea hit at the right time and she was able to put herself and her assistant back to work.

They created a mask with a seam down the middle of the front with a small opening at the mouth. They added a small third layer on the inside—a small square of fabric sewed down on two sides—to serve as a flap. When you stick the straw in, it pushes that trap door open so you can drink, and when you remove it, it shuts to keep the mask closed.

Ellen says this works best with a metal straw.

This is a solution for friends who want to gather, yet practice safe social distancing. They can meet up for a social outing and drink without taking their masks off.

She also makes masks without a straw hole for trips to the grocery store or other activities.

The new enterprise isn’t without pitfalls. She says she’s received hate mail from those who accuse her of selling a mask that won’t protect against coronavirus. She doesn’t disagree with their claim, saying, “These masks aren’t here to save you. They just minimize spraying when you talk or cough.”

“I just wanted to do something fun and different and have an option for people,” she says. “People are thirsting for cocktails and thirsting for something fun. I just consider this a costume change or another way for us as social people to function.”

Want to sip? Just unzip

Zippered face mask allows wears to stay hydrated without exposing their whole face.
Zippered face mask from Shut Your Mouth. SHOPSHUTYOURMOUTH.COM

Three Texas women recently came up with the idea to produce masks with a zipper front.

The idea sparked while childhood friends Haley Manley and Sarah Cordill were on a Facetime call.

“Sarah had a mask on and she was trying to drink water,” explains Haley. “She spilled it all over herself. I’m an epidemiologist. I graduated from Columbia University with my MPH. While I don’t really have the statistics, I thought exposing your whole face defeats the purpose.”

She thought, ‘What if you could drink without exposing your whole face?’

Sarah, who received degrees in Nutrition and Public Health from the University of Texas at Austin, helped Haley brainstorm creating a zippered mask, and they solicited the design help of another friend, jewelry designer Madison Herington.

“We got a prototype going and we had Sarah’s mom help us sew it,” says Haley.

They then began producing and selling their masks through their company, Shut Your Mouth.

“We want people to stay hydrated and we include a reuseable straw with every purchase,” says Haley. “We are also giving back by supporting Charity Water, which establishes clean water systems in developing countries.”

Haley says their masks can be helpful if combined with social distancing measures and careful hand washing.

“Our masks are not CDC or FDA approved, but we think they can be helpful,” says Haley. “We give instructions with every package. We advise washing it after every use and you should only touch the zipper when wearing it. Only open it when you are taking a sip of water and then close it back up. If you leave it open, it defeats the purpose of the face cover.”

She also says the zipper is far enough away from their mouth that wearers don’t need to worry about accidentally zipping their lips.

Masks that aid the deaf

An employee with hearing impairment puts a see-through face mask designed for deaf people at the … [+] AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that 37.5 million adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. are deaf or have some form of hearing difficulty.

Life, these days, can be particularly challenging for the hearing impaired because traditional face masks prevent them from reading lips or getting clues from some facial expressions.

A positive solution involves face masks that have a see-through front.

The ClearMask company is currently taking preorders on its product, which it bills as the “first fully transparent face mask.”

As some other companies struggle to keep up with production demands, the DHH Mask Project offers a free online tutorial for people wanting to craft their own see-through masks.

Other designs are sure to emerge as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

Why You Need Social Distancing Signs

When operating a business, new social distancing guidelines are imperative to ensure that social distancing and mask-wearing practices are enforced. Even within a business, there are often multiple messages that need to be conveyed, and a multitude of locations where these notices and reminders should be displayed.

So, if you’re looking to find graphics that are effective in enforcing social distancing intervals, line management and proper hygiene guidelines, Vernon Graphic Solutions offers these and much more. Not only will your customers have visual reminders of the guidelines you expect them to follow, but you and your staff can quickly and easily ensure that people are abiding by those guidelines with just a quick glance.

Why use graphics for your messaging?

  • They are easy to install and remove
  • Extremely durable for indoor use
  • Vibrant and visible
  • Covered by warranty

Here are a few examples of the types of graphics available to encourage social distancing and proper hygiene during this pandemic:

  • Window and door signs to announce changing store hours, openings and closures
  • Promote & encourage curbside pickup
  • Directional traffic flow signage for drive-through and curbside pickups
  • Handwashing instructional signage
  • Floor graphics to encourage 6’ social distancing, stop here or aisle closed
  • Reception area signage that might include hand-sanitizer displays or special office policy signage
  • Personal hygiene signage to promote wearing masks and or gloves and where to dispose of used PPE.

By understanding the unique guidelines that most businesses must follow under Covid-19 restrictions, you and your business will be well equipped to help protect your employees and customers. Vernon offers the off-the-shelf or completely custom signage you need in your business. Give us a call for a quote today!

With this antiviral fabric coating, your clothing could protect you from COVID-19

A chemical treatment for textiles has been proven to destroy the SARS-CoV-2 virus, paving the way for the first COVID-19-busting apparel lines as early as fall.


The call came at 3:30 a.m. “Does your stuff work on COVID?”

Giancarlo Beevis sighed. He had been pulling his hair out trying to lock down a specialty lab that could test his antiviral fabric treatment’s ability to deactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “We’d searched everywhere for anyone who could test for COVID, specifically,” said Beevis, who is the CEO of the Canadian biotech firm Intelligent Fabric Technologies North America (IFTNA). “We weren’t interested in testing it against the human coronavirus, which our competitors were doing, because to us it didn’t have value. We wanted to deal with the pandemic.”

The voice on the phone belonged to longtime client Youngdo Kim, CEO of Okyung International, a Korean textile manufacturer. Turns out, he’d gone to university with a professor who went on to run a biosafety level 3 lab. “Why don’t I reach out to them and see if they can do it?” he said.

Passing a COVID-19 test on a dry textile is tricky, says Beevis, because antimicrobial fabrics often need moisture, such as sweat or ambient water vapor, to activate, and COVID-19 replicates faster and stays on surfaces longer than other viruses. But six weeks and tens of thousands of dollars later, the effort paid off.

On May 11, Beevis received the lab results proving that his company’s proprietary antiviral chemical—PROTX2 AV (pronounced pro-tex)—destroyed 99.9% of COVID-19 within 10 minutes, with residual killing power for 24 hours. The chemical penetrates the virus’s outer shell and destroys its replication process, and it can be applied during the textile finishing process without requiring additional machinery or steps. An internationally accredited, independent laboratory in Asia—whose name and country Beevis wouldn’t disclose—conducted the tests under American Association of Textile Chemists standards, making it the first antimicrobial textile chemical to be proven, via U.S. codes, to deactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Passing this test, coupled with permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will give brands using PROTX2 AV-treated textiles a scientific and marketing edge over products that have only been proven to destroy other types of coronaviruses. The EPA will decide whether the company can claim its product kills COVID in its marketing.

Here’s the difference: Many antimicrobial textile companies cite protection against “coronavirus” in larger letters on their websites, list the non-COVID-19 viruses they do kill in fine print, and present their products against the COVID-19 pandemic backdrop—which uninformed consumers might interpret as protection against COVID-19. But their products may not necessarily work against SARS-CoV-2. There are several kinds of coronaviruses that can affect humans, but only one that causes COVID-19. And although SARS-CoV-2 is a type of coronavirus, viruses don’t react the same way to the same chemicals.

“What makes it difficult is that we don’t know much about COVID or how it’s going to react,” says Beevis. “That’s what makes it different than the human coronavirus. The human strain is like the common cold. With COVID-19, we don’t know what that virus is going to do.”

This qualifier also has significant market implications, as loosening restrictions threaten a COVID-19 resurgence. The U.S. accounts for 1.6 million of the world’s 5.5 million cases. Analysts anticipate the global surgical apparel market to reach nearly $19 billion by 2025 and the antimicrobial textile market to surpass $20.5 billion by 2026.

The surge in interest has IFTNA readying a PROTX2 AV-treated laundry additive for home laundering for fall. It’s also starting to produce its own personal protective equipment (PPE) and will launch a lifestyle travel brand called Underit later this year or early next. The PPE and a portion of the Underit line will be treated with the antiviral chemical.

Meanwhile, its manufacturing partners—which include a number of well-known consumer labels—also have plans to incorporate PROTX 2 AV into upcoming products. Careismatic Brands, a global healthcare apparel and footwear company that manufactures the Cherokee and Dickies brands, has already begun corroborating tests in anticipation of creating antiviral products, including scrubs, lab coats, gowns, and masks, says CEO Mike Singer. The imperative for safer travel has Andrew Coutant, the North Face vice president of global equipment and accessories, planning PROTX 2 AV-treated collections for fall. And Okyung’s Kim is developing PROTX2 AV-treated PPE, military uniforms, medical dressings, and car and aircraft seats. “We now have an effective tool to help save lives,” he says.

“The antimicrobial textile market is going to be one of the rare markets that is not only having a short-term bounce from the COVID pandemic, but will experience long-term growth,” says Scott Pantel, CEO of Life Science Intelligence, an independent medical technology analysis firm. “Companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all coming into the healthcare space, and consumer demand for antimicrobial material is going to be massive. If these guys are really the first to successfully test against COVID, they’re going to be huge winners.”


If so, it will be a hard-won victory. The firm, a subsidiary of the publicly-traded iFabric Corp, has been creating antibacterial chemical treatments for textile firms serving the medical, athletic, military, hospitality, bedding, and consumer and corporate apparel industries for 12 years. In 2012, IFTNA developed its antiviral version, which garnered little interest pre-COVID.

“No one wanted it,” Beevis says. “The big deal in healthcare environments is bacteria. Their biggest costs involve bacterial infections that make people stay in the hospital longer, cause complications, or create readmittance. Viruses, like SARS or the flu, come and go. But it’s not the main concern in a healthcare facility.”

That same year, Beevis had unsuccessfully tried to introduce PROTX2 AV to the cruise line industry to control norovirus outbreaks that had been traced to reusable polyester napkins. “We got blocked out by a massive cleaning company,” says Beevis. Discussions ended in a stalemate. The cruise company wanted to add a PROTX2 AV treatment to washes instead of purchasing a new inventory of pre-treated napkins and linens. Its cleaning company wanted to know the kinds of chemicals being used. And IFTNA wasn’t about to release the proprietary ingredients and risk intellectual property theft.

“These were much larger companies than we were,” says Beevis. “They didn’t care enough to make it work, so it stayed on the shelf. Ironically, one of the companies docked in Fort Lauderdale for weeks with outbreaks of COVID was the exact company that could have used this technology in 2012.” Beevis declined to name the cruise line.


Beevis is now awaiting regulatory approval. IFTNA is in conversation with the EPA to fast-track its application, under an emergency-use provision, to allow manufacturing partners using PROTX2 AV to legally claim their textiles have been proven to kill COVID-19. It’s also talking to the Federal Drug Administration about approving specific PROTX2 AV-treated devices.

Eventual antiviral apparel should be used to enhance—not replace—other safety protocols, such as handwashing, social distancing, and wearing masks. “As people start to go back to work and we try to restart our economy, they want to feel protected,” says Beevis. “If we can give them another tool to help them, it’s a win.”


Susan Karlin is an award-winning journalist in Los Angeles and a regular contributor to Fast Company, covering space science and the nexus of science, technology, and arts. Past credits include IEEE Spectrum, Newsweek, Forbes, Wired, Scientific American, Discover, New York and London Times, NPR, and BBC Radio

Article from Fast Company, 5-26-20

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