Update, April 4, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that President Donald Trump shared on Friday: they are now advising everyone to wear a cloth face-covering mask in public to slow the spread of coronavirus.
This story was originally published on April 3, 2020
It seems like each new day of the COVID-19 pandemic comes with a hearty dose of surprising, overwhelming, and sometimes even conflicting information about how to navigate your way through this crisis — and yesterday was no different. While the efficacy of non-medical face masks is still under debate, President Donald Trump said we may soon hear revised nationwide recommendations on why we should be wearing them to help stop the spread of the virus, despite initial claims that universal mask-wearing is unnecessary. As a result of this update, you can expect a massive spike in the production and purchase of cloth face coverings within the lifestyle and fashion spaces. In fact, we’re already seeing brands pivot to making coverage options more accessible to all. And while we can’t tell you whether or not you need a non-medical face mask to protect yourself and your loved ones, we can help you shop masks online if you choose to seek one out.
To be clear, a cloth face mask is much different than a surgical mask or an N95 mask, which is the kind of highly protective respirator equipment so desperately needed among healthcare professionals right now. Anyone who isn’t fighting on the frontlines of this health crisis that is in possession of extra N95 or surgical masks is encouraged to send them directly to those in need. You can also donate to organizations helping to produce, procure, and distribute medical-grade face coverings approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hospitals in highly affected areas.
Now that we’re all on board with this distinction, you may be left wondering: what can a non-medical face mask really do for me, and do I even need to buy one? According to the CDC’s website, at least for right now, you don’t need to wear one unless you’re caring for someone who is sick. Although, the CDC has shared that 25% of people who get the virus could be asymptomatic, so being overly thoughtful by covering your face, might not be a bad idea. And of course, if you’re the one that’s sick, however, properly wearing a face mask is advised for when you are around others.
Still, these guidelines haven’t stopped government officials like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti from advising all citizens of the metropolis to wear some form of face-covering when making trips to essential places like the grocery store or pharmacy. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has also urged anyone who is immunocompromised and/or over the age of 70 to wear a mask at all times, along with those individuals in their company.
In addition to the thousands of DIY templates and tutorials available online to make your own mask out of everything from shop towels to t-shirt fabrics. Companies like Reformation and Sanctuary are also reacting quickly by organizing local manufacturers to produce non-medical masks using fabrics from their warehouses. These efforts don’t just allow for more people to buy masks for personal use, it prevents them from purchasing the medical-grade materials our heroes on the frontlines require to do their jobs safely.
So in anticipation of an announcement that widespread mask-wearing may, in fact, be an effective complement to all that hand-washing and social-distancing you’ve gotten so good at to curb the spread of this disease, we’ve put together a list of resources where you can find non-medical masks online. They tend to sell out quickly, so we’ll continue updating this page to keep you informed about the best places to make your purchase. And don’t forget: It’s still considered best practice to not touch your face when wearing your mask, and you should try with all your might not to mess with it once it’s on!
Custom Ink, known best as a resource for making personalized apparel, is selling cloth face masks from one of their t-shirt manufacturers who has shifted its production capability. The single-ply face masks are made of ultra-soft jersey fabric for a comfortable and breathable fit.
To purchase a pack of 12 protective cloth face masks, click here. To purchase a pack of 120, click here.
Reformation has partnered with The City of Los Angeles on LA Protects, an initiative to organize local manufacturers to make five million non-medical masks. You can pick some up for yourself or donate to someone in need directly through the retailer’s website.
To join the waitlist for a pack of 5 non-medical grade, reusable masks with ties, click here. To donate a pack to essential workers, click here.
After a few prototypes following guidelines set forth by the City of L.A. and the California health care non-profit Kaiser Permanente, the factory of fashion brand Monogram managed to create its own non-medical community masks. While they sold out of 10,000 masks within the first 24 hours, Monogram expects to be going live with even more inventory in a few days. Each order includes two masks shipped to its purchaser along with two additional masks donated to workers at essential businesses in L.A. The masks are 100% cotton jersey, machine washable, and reusable.
To request to be notified when a pack of 2 non-medical cotton jersey masks is available, click here.
While it’s tough to find any of the essentials like toilet paper or hand sanitizer on Amazon these days, you can occasionally get your cyber paws on packs of disposable masks made from non-woven fabrics for easy breathability. If you can’t order them right away, you can still make a purchase now for a delivery in late April or May.
To order a pack of 100 disposable face masks, click here.
This practical luxury goods brand is making non-medical grade masks for personal use that are available in packs of 5 to purchase or to donate. The masks are reusable and machine washable, and a portion of proceeds will be donated to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund.
To order a pack of 5 reusable face masks, click here. To donate a pack, click here.
This e-commerce platform offers a wide selection of quality products from premium brands across Asia, including disposable and reusable cloth face masks — a number of which are still in stock.
L.A.-based brand Sanctuary has launched its Essential Lifestyle Masks for consumers, designed to create a barrier to protect you from your surroundings. These are currently available on pre-order for April 19. At the same time, the company is using its resources and the profits of its lifestyle masks to produce over 5 million N95 masks to support the medical community (N95s are not for sale) as they battle this virus on the frontlines across the nation.
While you won’t find any medical-grade products available on Etsy, many of its crafty vendors have shifted to selling handmade masks and other fabric gear that serves as a barrier between you and your surroundings.
Bridal company Katie May just launched their selection of masks made of their top quality evening fabrications. For every mask purchased, the company is donating 3 utility masks to front-liners in the community.
The outdoor gear and adventurer’s shop doesn’t stock face masks but it does have an assortment of double-lined balaclavas and face/neck coverings. Look for ones that are double-lined or add an extra swatch of woven fabric underneath for an extra layer.
If you’re feeling crafty, grab some supplies (elastic, fabric, and a sewing kit), a pattern, or freestyle a mask of your own.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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