As hospitals and health care facilities run low on face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jo-Ann Fabrics is chipping in to help.
Beginning today, Jo-Ann is giving away free pieces of fabric, elastic and other necessary materials to customers at stores across the country so they can make masks to donate to hospitals in need. Customers can pick up kits with all the needed materials curbside. Open Jo-Ann stores will serve as collection points; the idea is to craft masks at home and drop off completed masks at open stores.
A tutorial demonstrating how to make the masks can be viewed on the fabric chain’s website. In parallel, Jo-Ann is starting classrooms in stores, complete with sewing machines and instructions, for those who want to help make the products. The classrooms will adhere to CDC guidelines for social distancing as well as to local mandates limiting the number of people who can gather in a group.
Additionally, Jo-Ann is working with larger hospitals and medical facilities to provide essential materials including fabric, elastic and clear vinyl.
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Amidst the coronavirus crisis, doctors and nurses are running short on N95 masks, which protect against virus transmissions. In some cases, medical workers have been forced to sanitize and reuse their masks, going against CDC guidelines, while others have resorted to using scarves or bandanas to protect their faces.
Fashion designers are eager to combat this shortage, and many big names have offered to convert their supply chains, ateliers and factories to operations dedicated to making medical supplies, such as face masks and hospital gowns. Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell and Prabal Gurung are among the New York-based designers who have offered their services during this unprecedented time.
The coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has infected over 372,000 people globally and resulted in more than 16,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. In the U.S., over 41,000 people have been sickened, with the death toll climbing above 500 as of today.
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