Community members sew masks for healthcare workers


AP Images

A woman sewing cloth masks to be donated to people in the neighborhood, during the coronavirus pandemic in New York City on April 6, 2020.

Amaray Alvarez, Staff Reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is advising that people in the United States wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here in Riverside County, the government has made it mandatory for residents to cover their faces whenever they leave home.

This new mandate, pandemic hoarders and the increase in hospital traffic has led to a shortage of medical-grade masks needed to protect healthcare workers and those who must still work or leave home.

Several groups in the Coachella Valley have stepped up to make and donate masks for healthcare workers and others who are risking their lives for the community.

Coachella Valley Mask Makers is one group that has been proactive in filling the demand for masks. The group has designed a kit that includes a special towel cloth material, a wire, rubber bands and glue. These masks are made without the need to sew and have been approved for medical workers. The wire is glued where the top of your nose goes to help pinch the mask and seal it from outside contaminants.

The group is active on Facebook where they have been announcing where others who want to get involved can pick up kits and drop off completed masks to be donated.

CNN Nails, in the city of La Quinta, has also started making masks. The nail salon is suffering financially with the close of its business but is using this time to help others by turning their salon into a mask-making operation site.

Salon owner Jade Nguyen intends to donate the masks to medical workers and has so far donated one-thousand masks to Eisenhower Medical Hospital and will donate 800 more to Desert Regional in the upcoming days.

Another local group making masks is the company Ernie Ball. The company typically manufactures guitar strings but has changed its productions. The company is making two-ply 100% cotton knit jersey masks.

Ernie Ball will donate masks to Martha’s Village & Kitchen, migrant farmworkers, grocery store employees and also have future plans to make masks available to all Coachella Valley residents for free.

Making masks at home is simple for those who would like to donate or need them for their family. The CDC has a page on their website that lists the various types of masks that can be made out of household materials.

The masks range from sewing to no-sew templates. Masks can be made with bandanas, t-shirts, fabric scraps and coffee filters. Cloth masks can also be reused and cleaned in washing machines after being used.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s department is currently not citing people who do not wear masks outside, although it was made mandatory that residents do so.

Several stores in the area have also implemented the order and are only allowing shoppers who have masks on to enter their businesses.