Pinellas County government and area chambers of commerce will help with COVID-19 safety efforts of many local businesses by hosting a face mask distribution initiative, which started over the weekend.

Thousands of cloth face masks will be distributed to businesses as far north as Tarpon Springs and all the way south to St. Petersburg over the next several weeks. The initiative comes as part of a unified effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which has been on the rise locally and throughout the state.

Face masks are among the top safety measures recommended by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas and other state and federal agencies, along with proper and frequent handwashing and keeping social distance of at least six feet from other people.

Pinellas County government and local chambers are also teaming up to share safety messaging via print, digital and social media platforms about the importance of personal protection against the novel coronavirus for which there is no cure yet.

Area chambers include: Amplify Clearwater, Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce, Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce, Gulfport Merchants Chamber, Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce, Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The effort is also supported by the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.