The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to drastic rise in the global demand for medical equipment and protective gear that will help control the spread, as well as, treat those who test positive.
Though governments and donors across the globe are trying their very best to ensure front-line healthcare workers are well-equipped and protected while also ensuring the latter for citizens, there are still several reports of shortages.
As the demand for basics such as face masks, hand sanitizers, detergents, just to mention a few, has risen and are also scarce, several small scale and large scale businesses have stepped in and are producing them to help meet the demand.
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It is in this regard that a Mississippi-based entrepreneur is ingeniously making reusable face masks out of African prints to make people look stylish while most importantly, protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.
In a statement to Black Enterprise, Alexis Williams, who is the founder of Aloha Glamour, an African clothing and Hawaiian boutique, spoke extensively about the face masks.
“My masks are 100% cotton, reversible, reusable and machine washable,” she said. “My masks are not meant to replace surgical masks, but it is a contingency plan for those who don’t have the ability to get surgical masks because of the shortage. It is not medical-rated, but it is good enough to filter other hazardous particles and bad smells. The response to it has been overwhelming and we want to do anything we can to help out.”
Though her masks are not N95 certified, their large size makes them conducive and convenient enough to be worn over the medically approved masks. Thanks to its size, the masks significantly protect users from directly touching their face.
“I decided to encourage my other customers to help provide masks for those on the front line in this pandemic battle,” Williams, who donates a free mask to local healthcare workers for every purchase, said.
“I asked them to make contributions so my business could provide face masks for someone in public service for free. Several of my customers have responded by donating to help in this important effort.”
Williams’ reusable face masks comes in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending the use of cloth face coverings in “public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”