CAROL QUASH AND CARLA BRIDGLAL
Government has commissioned manufacturing company Janouras Custom Design Limited to make 10,000 cloth masks.
On Monday Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced at a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre that the Ministry of Health would now be distributing masks to the public. He said anyone venturing into public must wear a mask.
Director Hannah Janoura told Business Day initially government had requested 20,000 but the company would not have been able to undertake such a large commission because it is not considered one of the essential services and the factory is currently closed.
She said the company donated all the material, cut out the masks and is doing the sewing, with some assistance from volunteers.
“Last week we were asked to make the masks and we are happy to do it. We had the material in stock – washable 100 per cent cotton material and elastic. Our factory is fully computerised, so the machines cut the masks in a very short time.”
She said the sewing is being done by staff members and a few volunteers.
“Some members of staff took some home with them to sew, and the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s Association (SLWA) is sewing some. We have to deliver it at the end of the week.”
The SLWA told Business Day in an e-mail that following recommendations around the world and in TT that masks may help reduce the spread of covid19, the organisation contacted the Ministry of Health offering to donate 10,000 masks to the public. “We then approached Janouras to cut and prep all the fabric that we got donated, and then got our members and their friends involved. These women sewed each and every one from home.”
The group said given the huge request, it is considering keeping this project going beyond the initial 10,000. “But we are also encouraging people to do it themselves. The process is not difficult, and the only way we can supply enough for everyone’s safety is to spread the knowledge and hope that all capable hands will help.”
The SLWA got its fabric donated by Janouras and elastic from Fakoory’s. “After it was cut into squares with elastic for each side, we then sent them to our volunteers to sew together. We followed a simple tutorial online to guide us. It’s not difficult, just a little time consuming due to the number we pledged.”
The Ministry of Health announced Wednesday that it will use local NGO, FEEL, to help distribute masks to the public. The initiative is part of the SLWA’s 70th anniversary goal to complete 70 good deeds throughout TT.
The SLWA used its design from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Cloth face coverings should:
fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
be secured with ties or ear loops
include multiple layers of fabric
allow for breathing without restriction
be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
(Source: US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)