Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) launched a #HeroBehindTheMask awareness campaign to promote wearing cloth face coverings, which are now required in public settings to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also are aimed at highlighting influencers and local celebrities who are assisting the city’s response to the virus and the ripple effects it’s had on daily life and wellbeing of residents.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus was the first to participate.

The picture was accompanied by three hints to give social media users clues as to the wearer.

McManus has been SAPD chief since 2006, minus a brief stint as head of security for CPS Energy.

SAPD Chief William McManus was revealed as the first #HeroBehindTheMask, an initiative launched to get residents comfortable with wearing masks.
SAPD Chief William McManus was revealed as the first #HeroBehindTheMask, an initiative launched to get residents comfortable with wearing masks. Credit: Courtesy / Manny Pelaez

Pelaez said he has a full lineup of well-known celebrities and sports stars and each photo and hints will be posted each day at 9 a.m., and the unmasking will occur at 5 p.m.

“We always anticipated that requiring masks was going to get some degree of resistance from certain members of the public,” he said. “With that in mind, I recruited local and nationally recognized role models to help San Antonians remember that we’re all in this together.  I didn’t have to ask any of the national level celebrities twice. Each of them loves San Antonio and they jumped at the opportunity to send their love and support to their friends and fans in the Alamo City.”

Beginning Monday, San Antonio residents 10 and older are required to wear face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is difficult, such as at the grocery store or pharmacy. Dr. Barbara Taylor, an infectious disease specialist who is serving as the chair of the City’s COVID-19 Health Transition Team, advised Monday that if parents were able to get masks on children younger than 10, they should do so at their discretion.

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Face coverings are not required when exercising outside, driving alone or with people in your household, pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment, in a building that requires security surveillance, or eating or drinking.

One of the soon-to-be-revealed national celebrities has been vocal about the need to follow public safety rules, he added.

Residents are advised to wear cloth coverings only and reserve medical-grade masks such as N-95 respirators for health care workers and first responders. Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Monday stressed that masks do not have to be purchased and could be made from old T-shirts or other cloth remnants around the home.

Iris Dimmick

Iris Dimmick

Senior reporter Iris Dimmick covers City Hall, politics, development, and more. Contact her at iris@rivardreport.com