CLEVELAND — When you rewind two months, the sight of someone with a bandanna over their face at the grocery store may have made you do a double-take, but during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s become the new normal.
“I think they should carry something with them because you never know,” Henry Burney said. “Somebody might have a cough or a cold and it’s about spreading the disease.”
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. grows, federal health officials are recommending covering your face in public with either a mask, scarf or bandanna.
That recommendation has caused Americans to head to the store seeking supplies.
“Knowing where to get them,” Karell McDaniel said. “I really think that’s kind of the challenge. People tell you you need something and then don’t tell you how to get it.”
Because of that sudden demand, McDaniel spent much of the weekend trying to find the supplies necessary to preserve his health.
“The problem is finding a mask. Yesterday I drove around looking for bandannas. Couldn’t find those,” McDaniel said. “Looking for masks. Couldn’t find those.”
One Northeast Ohio business is working around the clock to meet that demand.
“I never thought in a million years a skill that I possess sewing clothes would be a vital skill to help us combat this situation right now,” Valerie Mayen said.
Mayen owns Yellowcake Shop, a clothing business, and their sole purpose for the last several weeks has been manufacturing face masks.
“It’s not easy work,” Mayen said. “I’m up until 6 a.m. almost every day packing and shipping all of these masks.”
Mayen’s business, like so many others, has been flooded with thousands of requests with seemingly no end in sight.
“I have something to do to keep my mind off the ‘Chicken Little, sky is falling’ kind of world right now and people can get what they need to stay safe, so I think it’s win-win for everyone,” Mayen said.
The U.S. Surgeon General also created a video tutorial about how to make your own face mask with supplies you may have at home.