BLUE ASH, Ohio — At 6 p.m. Thursday, everyone who lives in Ohio will be required to wear masks in public spaces after Gov. Mike DeWine announced an order mandating face coverings on Wednesday.
Matthew 25 Ministries, the Blue Ash charity which travels across the country for disaster relief, will now prepare to help combat the current crisis locally with free testing and masks this weekend.
“We started ramping up preparations for this about a month before it really hit the United States,” said CEO Tim Mettey.
His organization has prepared for hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and more, but COVID-19 is a new type of emergency for Matthew 25 Ministries with an unprecedented impact.
“That’s something that we take for granted, that we can just go down to the supermarket or to the gas station or whatever and get what you need, but right now it’s impacting a lot of people. They’re having to cut back,” he said.
Mettey said his team was already preparing to provide free testing and masks for 500 people Saturday. With DeWine’s order Wednesday, that work is even more urgent.
"We've got to get this virus under control. Wearing masks is going to make a difference,” DeWine said during his press conference.
Mettey knows getting masks and protective gear isn’t always easy. Matthew 25 Ministries has shipped 2 million pounds of supplies to more than 1,000 different organizations.
“Usually, we’re not providing supplies to hospitals or police and fire departments, because normally they’re the ones that are pretty well ready to take care of a disaster,” he said. “But for the pandemic, we found that everyone needed supplies, because we were in such short supply.”
Matthew 25 Ministries had personal protective equipment for disaster relief, but leaders wonder how long society will have to weather this storm.
“Unfortunately, this is something that we have to prepare for and to continue to prepare for in the coming months if not year to come.”
Saturday’s COVID-19 Testing and Product Distribution event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Matthew 25 Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Rd, Blue Ash. A government-issued photo ID is required to participate in testing, and minors can receive testing with the signed consent of a present parent or guardian.
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