Giants third baseman Evan Longoria tweeted Friday night that he "[loves] seeing people out, enjoying life without a mask" as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the country and public-health guidance calls for mask-wearing to limit transmission of the virus.
"Of course I want people to be safe but I love seeing people out, enjoying life without a mask," Longoria tweeted Friday night to over 361,000 followers.
The Giants didn't respond to NBC Sports Bay Area's request for comment from Longoria on Saturday afternoon, or for one from the organization. On Saturday night, Longoria tweeted that he wears his mask "everywhere."
"I just wish we didn't need to," he wrote, adding the hashtags #TRIGGERWARNING and #ilikeseeingpeoplesmile.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear masks in public when with others who don't live in their household, as well as well as when it's not possible to maintain a distance of six feet. A person infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can easily spread it through respiratory droplets to another person when in direct contact or within six feet. Since the disease can be spread by people who aren't showing symptoms, the CDC recommends mask-wearing.
Research indicates widespread mask wearing is effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly said that everyone should be wearing a mask.
“There are some things that should be universally practiced, and that is the universal wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance, doing things outdoors more than indoors and washing our hands frequently," Fauci told NBC News’ Kate Snow recently. "That doesn't matter who you are. That's what you should be doing."
Wearing a mask or face covering is required, with some exceptions, for anyone going outside their home in California, and the same is required in San Francisco. Masks are not required in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Longoria and his family live, but a mandate in Maricopa County -- where Scottsdale is located -- requires masks where social distancing isn't possible and in enclosed public spaces.
Earlier this month, Longoria retweeted a tweet from actor and Giants fan Rob Schneider criticizing California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office tweeting that people should wear masks in between bites of food while eating in public with members of their household.
Over 220,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States, according to state health officials and NBC News. At least seven states set single-day records for case increases on Friday, while epidemiologists and infectious disease experts continue to sound the alarm over a third peak of infections in the U.S. They are particularly fearful of the forthcoming holiday season, as the weather gets colder and family gatherings can be potential super-spreading events.
The pandemic also continues to have devastating economic effects, including within the Giants organization. After a shortened 60-game season in which fans couldn't attend regular-season games, the Giants laid off nearly 10 percent of full-time employees this week.
In a letter to fans earlier this month, Giants CEO Larry Baer, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler said the organization is working to safely get fans back to Oracle Park next season. Longoria, in the same letter, called the absence of fans a big challenge.
"I think a lot of guys battled through not having fans on a daily basis," Longoria said. "I think we take for granted at times how valuable the fans are, how beneficial it is to have a cheering home crowd in that environment, one that you feel like can thrive off that energy."
With fans currently allowed at some sporting events, including during the NLCS and World Series in Arlington, Texas, the CDC advised in September that fans attending games should wear masks. Fans attending the NLCS and World Series are required to wear masks, except when eating or drinking.
Public-health experts have also said mask-wearing will remain necessary even after a vaccine begins to be initially distributed at some point in 2021. As it stands right now, fans could very well be wearing masks if they're allowed back at Oracle Park, and it could be a while before Longoria sees fans smile from the stands.