Grenville tailor crafting face masks to help fight spread of Covid-19

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Grenville tailor responds to increasing demand by general public for face masks
  • Disruptions to day to day operations of businesses can generate innovation
  • Masks offered a wide variety of colours and patterns

In the face of the outbreak of Covid-19 which has caused disruptions to the day to day operations of businesses, one tailor has shown that innovation can spring from a time of crisis, by responding to the increasing demand for face masks by the general public.

Although the Ministry of Health is confident that there will be enough N95 masks and surgical masks for the medical staff, the availability of regular masks for use by the public seem limited.

Devon Augustine, a tailor for over 30 years on Victoria Street, Grenville in St Andrew, has begun mass-producing face masks after experiencing a drastic reduction in his tailoring business for garments. “My business went low because schools shut down and workplaces closed, so people weren’t coming to the shop for clothes. So I decided to try and make masks after experiencing difficulty in trying to find masks for my family. While producing these masks, there were other people showing interest in what I doing and asking me to produce masks for them.”

Devon Augustine and his family wearing his customised face masks

Augustine quickly gained traction from the public who were showing interest in purchasing masks. “There is a scarcity of mask in the country for general consumption and when you look around Grenville there are a lot of people walking around without masks on their faces. So I went and did a little bit of research on mask making since I was not accustomed making them, then I started using scraps from around the shop to practice making them and then I got the hang of it and started making more.”

Devon said as long as there is a demand for masks, he will continue to supply the market. He also managed to include some creativity in his designs by offering a wide variety of colours and patterns.

“Producing masks will be a good thing for my business, also it will be very good to help people to protect themselves from contracting Covid-19. I did a variety of colours to attract my customers due to their preference since some like it dark or brightly coloured. The ladies and kids prefer to wear coloured masks while the men prefer the darker colours and you could even request a specific colour,” Augustine said.

Being considerate to the needs of the public in this trying economic times, Devon has made his masks affordable with asking price of only $10 per mask. He also offered some advice to the public utilising these masks. “I would advise people to wash these masks every day after use. Do not allow anyone else to use your mask and do not use the mask for other purposes then what it was intended for.”

In other parts of the world that are experiencing a shortage of N95 masks and surgical masks, homemade masks are extending the life of medical-grade masks which generally will be disposed of after single use.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Francis Martin, has confirmed that there are enough surgical masks on island for the medical staff to start Grenada’s response, with a shipment of masks on its way to Grenada.

To date, hand sanitisers and a sanitising fluid, are other local innovations responding to demand by the general public in the fight against Covid-19.

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