FULL CLAIM: “Governor of Maine orders restaurant staff to wear COVID visors like dog cones”
A false claim that restaurant staff in Maine are required to wear dog cone-like face shields to protect against COVID-19 in compliance with orders from Governor Janet Mills is circulating on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This claim can be traced back to an 18 August 2020 tweet by anti-vaccination activist Sherri Tenpenny, which was later promoted by the website Summit News. NewsGuard, which evaluates the trustworthiness of news sources, has reported that Summit News, which was launched by an editor of the conspiracy theory website Infowars, “severely violates basic journalistic standards.” Nevertheless, the Summit News article has received more than 19,000 interactions on Facebook to date, according to social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.
The claim is inaccurate, as the Governor’s requirements are for face shields, not dog cone-style face visors. The official COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance on the website of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, which was updated on 14 August 2020, states:
“Front-of-house staff may wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering only if the shield is designed to be worn inverted, attaching below the face (e.g. as a collar) and open at the top of the shield, with the shield extending above the eyes and laterally to the ears. Face shields that are open at the bottom, directing breath downward, are not acceptable replacements for face coverings for front-of-house staff.”
Only staff who have opted to use face shields instead of face masks are required to wear them upside down. Face shields are not analogous to dog cones, therefore, the claim that a dog cone-style face visor is required for all restaurant staff in Maine is demonstrably false.
The article also misleads readers with a photo apparently showing a restaurant staff member wearing a dog cone-style face visor at work (see below), which was credited to Tenpenny.
However, this photo is actually a composite of two different images. A reverse image search on Google reveals that the majority of the altered photo is derived from a stock photo on iStock (see screenshot below).
This photo was then altered to include an image of a woman’s face wearing a dog cone, which is originally from a 2014 Coca-Cola advertisement titled “Coca-Cola Social Media Guard” that can still be viewed on YouTube (see screenshot below).
This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.