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2020 the year of the Mask 🦠

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

30th August 2020

Its been 5 months since NZ went into level 4 lockdown, here’s a wee run down on how it went for us.

What we know:

  • The first case was reported on the 28th February and as of the 29th August 2020 we have had a total of 1727 cases (1376 confirmed and 351 probable) 22 people have died from the virus. 1568 have recovered.

  • All border and entry points were closed to all non-residents on the 19th March and all returnees must go into a 2 week isolation.

  • On the 21st March a 4 level alert system was put into place and was initially set at level 2 and on March 23 was raised to level 3. On March the 25th the level was raised to level 4, and a national lockdown. On the 27th April the alert was moved back to level 3 and on the 13th of May down to level 2. On the 8th June it moved to level 1removing all restrictions apart from border controls.

  • On the 11th August, four cases from unknown source were reported in Auckland the first from an unknown source in 102 days. On the 12th August Auckland region moved into level 3 while the rest of NZ moved up to level 2

These are the levels of the alert system

Level 4 - Lockdown

Level 3 - Restrict

Level 2 - Reduce

Level 1 - Prepare

It all started very rapidly within a few days heading into level 4. This was a scary and anxious time for many with the unknown on how things would work and with only essential workers working. The government had assured us that we did not need any PPE (personal protective equipment) and that only 1 person was allowed to venture out in the car or bus for essential services (shopping etc) People worked from home if they could, a visit to the Doctor was now done via phone and you could go out and exercise but only locally. We all had to stay within our own ‘bubbles’. I started a group and daily diary on the website if you want to read it you can join the group here

Second day into lockdown and my cat had a huge infection and needed to go to the vet! 🙄🙄🙄 I wasn’t allowed inside the vet clinic, just had to pass the cat cage over a table in the door way to staff in full PPE. I had decided before heading there I needed my own PPE so put a double layer tube scarf/headband over my mouth and nose and wear gloves and a beanie.

I looked like a bank robber, little did I know it was not much protection but better than none!

A couple of days after that and thinking about being the delegated shopper I started doing research into mask design and materials.

Here’s my first prototype, I’d found the best material was cotton and that I needed 3 layers and some kind of filter and nose piece. It wasn’t a good fit, my glasses would fall off and it was a bit gappy around the sides. But better than nothing. My son had done the next shop and decided not to go again after saying it was like the aftermath of an apocalypse (wasn’t really that bad)!

Below is where we are at today with our masks 5 months later! Our masks have a rated 99.5% @0.5 microns filter. We have a range of tie backs, ear savers,DIY kit set, pleated and fitted masks that all either have sewn in filters or removable. All masks have an internal aluminium adjustable nose wire to stop fogging. Here’s just one of the fitted ones.

So what have we learnt?

  • A lot of patience 😂😷🦠

  • An infected person’s cough or sneeze spreads SARS-CoV-2 -the virus that causes the disease COVID -19 a highly contagious respiratory illness.

  • Most infections start with water droplets less 5 microns or less in size. The human hair is 60-120 microns.

  • Researchers don’t know how many virus-laden particles people expel in an average droplet but an average cough can produce as many as 3000 droplets and a single sneeze can make up to 40,000 according to multiple studies in 2009 in a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

  • Airborne droplets can survive up to 3 hours, long enough for someone to walk through and inhale them.

  • It can be transferred by contact with various objects, such as existing on stainless steel for two to three days (found in public transport, restrooms etc)

  • Lives on plastic for up to 72 hours (including shopping trolleys, light switches, elevator buttons)

  • On Cardboard for 24 hours, glass up to 96 hours and copper only 4 hours

  • This virus is particularly brutal on people with immune disorders and the elderly and infirm.

There was a lot of uncertainty around essential businesses, whether I could still ship my products and sell online. More research was needed as I wanted to help and sell my masks while continuing to create our usual products for stock and catch up on accounts while in lockdown. Two weeks before we came out of lockdown I received notification that I could sell essential items as an essential business, following strict rules.

I had done a lot of research into materials, filters and what has been proven to work overseas and recommended by the WHO. As stocks of disposable masks were being saved for essential services as well as they were single use and made from plastic.

Although during this first wave the Government had only supported essential workers wearing PPE, but many like me who were doing the weekly shop etc still wanted to be as safe as possible. Sales were steady of masks during this time.

Now that we are in the second wave with community transmission, the government has recommended some kind of face covering, whether its a scarf or a mask, its highly recommended in Auckland areas while in level 3. Its also mandatory on all public transport as of tonight throughout NZ. So as you can imagine mask sales went a little crazy and everyone started making masks at home (Mostly 2 layer masks, but better than nothing)

We do have a video on YouTube showing you show we made one of our earlier masks if you want to watch it click the link here

Our masks have been very popular as there aren’t many on the market with filters and that don’t fog glasses.

There’s now a shortage of elastic and fabric shops have been inundated with orders. Different alternatives and even sock masks are being made! (Not sure how effective some of these are as when they stretch it makes the fabric holes bigger) We were using new remnants and deadstock but are now buying new to keep up with demand. At one point we had to stop taking orders to allow us to catch up with orders, making it fair for those who have ordered and not causing long delays. Now we have caught up orders can be made and delivered within a few days. If you want to follow us on Social media, we are on Facebook or Instagram as well as YouTube and twitter

The World health Organisation recommends 3 layers of cotton or 2 layers and a filter, You can check out their recommendations on this post here

Lastly we hope that everyone stays safe, checks on their family, neighbours and friends from a safe social distance or via online/phone. If you need help please reach out to those you need too, look up

whether you’re a business or not, the info is all there. A lot of people have been made redundant, closed businesses or have found looking for work even harder.

So remember...

Be Kind, Stay Safe, Wash your hands,

Wear a mask if out in crowded situations,

Remember your social distancing

Do it, if not for yourself,

but the protection of the vulnerable


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