Islanders making and selling fabric masks during COVID-19 pandemic
'I have one style that I make, but you can have it in pretty much any pattern'
Some Islanders are making fabric face masks to sell during the COVID-19 pandemic.
P.E.I's chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison has said wearing a homemade cloth mask has not been proven to protect the person wearing it.
However, she said wearing a mask in public places where physical distancing is a challenge could help protect other people around you, but she emphasized that wearing a mask is not a replacement for other health measures and recommendations.
Islanders Sylvia Doiron and Kelly Moorehead are both making masks from scratch.
Moorehead owns Perfect Pear Bridal in downtown Charlottetown and had to close the doors on March 17. She said she got to thinking that because of the pandemic Islanders may want to use masks.
"I just decided to try a couple different patterns," she said.
"I just started working on these templates and then just started making masks and posted it."
When she posted the masks on social media she said she started to get calls for orders.
'Just saw a need'
Doiron went through a similar experience. She runs Pins and Needles in Summerside and had to shut down the shop on March 19. She said she laid off the two women working there "with lots of tears."
Doiron said the store was closed for about three weeks before she had the idea.
"I just saw a need so I started making masks," she said.
I am just using fabrics that I have that are fun, cheery, try to make people's spirits a little better in this time of crisis.— Kelly Moorehead
Moorehead said it isn't difficult to make masks — but it takes time.
"It takes about 15 minutes to make one mask and so I do a production of about 200…. So, it is about 50 hours to make 200 masks."
Doiron said she does the same thing.
"Mostly cotton is what I am using, some flannel. People like the soft," she said.
Doiron is selling her masks and she said the hope is to make enough money that when the pandemic is over she can get her business back up and running and her workers back.
"We're social distancing. So I have a stool set out on my front step," she said.
How masks are sold
Doiron puts the homemade masks in a bin.
"I do a pickup time for people. They e-transfer the money and when their pickup time comes, I slip their bag into the bin, they get out of their car and come and pick it up."
Moorehead said she does the exact same thing from her home. She said she has a lot of options to choose from when it comes to fabric designs.
"Well I'm a quilter so I have lots of fabric. So I am just using fabrics that I have that are fun, cheery, try to make people's spirits a little better in this time of crisis," she said.
Doiron said she also has a lot of options when it comes to patterns because she owns a fabric store.
"I have one style that I make, but you can have it in pretty much any pattern," Doiron said.
Doiron is selling her masks for $8 and she has made about 150 so far.
Moorehead said she originally was donating the masks but is now selling them for $10. She said she has made about 500 so far.
Some people may be wondering how to make fabric masks for themselves.
A guide for making your own mask has been put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC also says face coverings should not be placed on children younger than two years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
COVID-19: What you need to know
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
- Practise physical distancing.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
More from CBC P.E.I.
With files from Island Morning