New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a “Mask Up America” campaign on the weekend, pulling in a slew of celebrities encouraging Americans to wear face masks in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
One of those high profile names was Morgan Freeman. The actor’s baritone voice – one of the most recognisable in American cinematic history – pleads with Americans to wear a mask and respect people like him and outlines the function of a mask in its purest form.
“I may never have met you, we don’t go way back. Maybe we wouldn’t even be friends if we did,” says Freeman. “But when you wear a mask, you have my respect. Because your mask doesn’t protect you, it protects me. I wear my mask to protect you. Be NY Tough, Mask Up, America.”
It’s truly like a higher power ordering us to do the right thing – and is very moving. Because who wouldn’t dare respect Morgan Freeman? Take a look:
“We can only beat this virus if we are united as one, not divided by ideology or politics,” Cuomo said in his bid to de-politicise the action of wearing a mask. “In that spirit, we worked with the best and most creative team to deliver this vital message in multiple ways and in different voices – I wear a mask to protect you and you wear a mask to protect me. It is simple as that. Mask Up, America.”
The short series – also featuring Robert De Niro and Ellen Pompeo – is produced by Tribeca Film CEO Jane Rosenthal. The PSAs will air in donated media time and space throughout the country.
In December, I sat down with the lauded actor inside a hotel room in uptown Manhattan. Promoting his film Angel Has Fallen where he plays the President of the United States, I asked Freeman what he would do if he was Commander-In-Chief for one day.
“For one day? You can’t do anything in one day,” the 82-year-old responded.
“But you’re Morgan Freeman,” I teased. “You can do anything you want.”
“Ahh,” he replied, smiling and pointing his index finger. “That’s a big misconception right there.”
Last month, Cuomo put an executive order in place that requires travellers from states with high infection rates to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival into New York. But he added that might not be enough, citing some New Yorkers are letting their guard down when it comes to social distancing, particularly around bars.
On Thursday, the governor announced new regulations where New Yorkers must order food if they are ordering drinks at bars and restaurants in a bid to stop people loitering. “It is inevitable that there will be a second wave,” he told the New York Times. “But the second wave is going to be the confluence of the lack of compliance and the local government’s lack of enforcement, plus the viral spread coming back from the other states. It is going to happen.”
“Just because it is not there today, does not mean it’s not going to happen.”
It turns out you can change the world in one day. Wear a mask. Stop the spread.