The National Department of Health and the President of South Africa has recommended that South Africans should wear cloth face masks when in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (N95, surgical and medical-grade masks are urgently needed by healthworkers who are at the greatest risk of catching the Coronavirus).
By wearing a mask you reduce the amount of potentially virus-laden droplets that you might cough up in public. Since some people with the Coronavirus may not have any symptoms (or even know that they have it), everyone is advised to wear a face mask in public.
Across the country numerous small businesses, particularly those involved in the fashion or decor industry, have switched their production lines to start producing cloth masks and have adjusted courier and delivery models to allow for the delivery of these masks (while clothing stores remain closed).
On April 23 President Cyril Ramaphosa made a speech to the nation detailing the terms of the change of the nationwide lockdown from ‘Level 5’ to ‘Level 4’. He ended his speech by again reiterating the importance of wearing a cloth mask in public and after his parting statement, in a slightly clumsy but incredibly endearing display, proceeded to put on his own face mask.
As is the South African way hundreds of memes immediately followed the speech and even a #facemaskchallenge, although more importantly a nationwide understanding that it is essential to wear masks in public is being firmly established.
Here’s a look at the many small businesses now making and selling masks in Joburg and some tips on how to put on your mask!