Cloth masks in high demand as economy reopens

Cloth masks in high demand as economy reopens
Cloth masks in high demand as economy reopens(source: WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Apr. 30, 2020 at 10:42 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As businesses get ready to reopen, you will probably see more and more places asking you to wear a mask when you come inside.

While N-95 masks offer the most virus protection, they are nearly impossible for the public to buy at the moment.

The Mbabazi House of Style on Broad Street in Memphis is known for its African garb, but quickly made a design change once COVID-19 began to spread in the community.

The owner, Grace Byeitima, decided to start creating cloth face masks.

Byeitima’s plan was just to make a few to help pay bills.

“I can make 100, sell 100 just to pay the rent,” said Byeitima.

However, after the CDC recommended everyone wear face coverings in public at the beginning of April, sales went through the roof.

She’s now sold at least 2,000 of her original face masks.

Monday, Memphis will partially reopen their economy and she’s already noticed a change.

“People that were staying indoors were not really buying masks. I can see a change in how people are buying,” said Byeitima.

City and county leaders are strongly recommending face coverings when returning to work or for an outing.

You can purchase face masks at just about any big box store, such as Walmart.

However, a weekly mask budget may be unrealistic for some people.

Thursday, a fundraiser called “Masks for Memphis” kicked off to provide free reusable masks to communities in North Memphis.

“So the money that we receive for masks will go straight into the hands of local crafters who will be making these masks for members of our community,” said Michelin Easter-Thomas, Memphis City Council.

The CDC also suggests making your own face covering by using common household items such as a t-shirt or bandana.

Whatever you choose to wear, medical experts suggest wearing face coverings in public places where its hard to stay six feet apart.

N-95 masks should still be reserved for health care professionals.

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