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Additional text by: Alyssa Tria
There is no evidence to support that wearing a face mask will protect you from COVID-19. You should still avoid touching your face, washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds using warm water and soap and practice social distancing.
In Singapore, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce introduced stringent measures as part of a nation-wide circuit breaker to break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions since 7 April 2020. The Taskforce has made the wearing of masks mandatory for anyone leaving their home.
As part of the measure, everyone must wear a mask when outside of their homes. This applies on public transport, taxis, private hire cars, walking to or at markets, and also for essential workers at all workplace premises, whether they are frontline staff (such as food handlers, cashiers and bus drivers) or performing back office functions (such as data entry personnel and payroll executives).
Individuals may remove their mask while engaging in strenuous exercise outdoors (e.g. running/ jogging), but they must put it back on after completing exercise. Mask-wearing is not recommended for young children below the age of two for child safety reasons.
Medical experts have also advised that some groups may have difficulties wearing a mask, including children with special needs and young children aged two and above, and we will exercise flexibility in enforcement for these groups.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we should wear 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.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Here are some brands that are making non-medical face masks (they ship directly to Singapore!) and how your purchase can leave an impact within communities:
Shoppers who purchase antibacterial fabric masks for S$9 per pack of 3, with 100 per cent of profits from each purchase going towards crucial medical supplies for partner health organisations, including Singapore’s Red Cross Society and Thailand’s Red Cross. Pomelo has also started manufacturing face masks using fabrics used for apparel.
In conjunction with their 8th anniversary celebration, Zalora will also be donating 10 masks to the Singapore Red Cross with every S$100 spent.
Shop for their limited edition face masks in collaboration with Disney.
Disney is donating one million cloth face masks for children and families in underserved and vulnerable communities across the U.S. that will be distributed by MedShare (www.medshare.org). Shop for this medium-sized face masks with adorable Star Wars designs. Designs include the Child, R2-D2, allover Star Wars symbols, and Star Wars characters.
Pre-order for small and large sizes are available on the website.
Supporting Feeding America and their COVID-19 relief efforts, Everlane is donating reusable masks for every purchase of their mask three-pack (S$41). Each non-medical mask is made from a double-layer knit fabric and features cotton-Lyrca earloops for stretch and comfort.
IT fashion brand from Los Angeles, Reformation, has partnered with LA Protects, an initiative to organize local manufacturers to make five million non-medical masks. You have the options to purchase a five-pack of non-medical mask ($38) for yourself or donate it to someone else who is in need through the retailer’s website.
Uncommon Goods was founded by The Laguna Beach actress Kristin Cavallari in 2017, and the site carries a set of two Rainbow face masks for sale. The rainbow illustrations are designed by team members’ children, aged 1.5 - 10 years old. UncommonGoods are donating 100% of the net profits to NYC Health + Hospitals. Shop the kids’ size here.
Home bedding brand Parachute has expanded into face mask production to help those in need. For every customer that buys a pack of five face masks, Parachute will donate five face masks to chosen organisations. While the masks have sold out, you may pre-order on 19 May.
Since pausing the production of MLB player jerseys, Fanatics has been using the fabric to produce single-use face masks that will be donated to state governments and hospitals. According to the Sports retailer’s website, the masks were created to "address the shortage of critical supplies, during the current public health emergency."
Tiding over Circuit Breaker and WFH: