Clothing business works to meet facemask demand


As Hawaii announces its second death to Covid-19, Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking residents of Oahu to wear face masks to help curb the spread of the virus.

Out in stores people may find fabric face masks and those are the ones the mayor is asking residents to wear and not surgical or N95 masks.

“When you go outside whether to jog, to shop, whatever it is you do, that you wear a mask,” Caldwell said. “Now we are not asking you to wear an N95 mask or a surgical mask, doctors are saying don’t use those masks those are to protect our medical professionals.”

At T&L Muumuu Factory, employees are working overtime to fill all of the orders for face masks. The manager Tony Truong said the company typically makes dresses and aloha shirts, but these are not typical times.

Truong said, “Over a couple days ago we have just seen a ten-fold spike of companies, organizations and just people in general that are wanting to have a mask.” 

Dr. Michael Lui, Neurology Clinic Director at Pali Momi Medical Center said masks may help reduce the spread of germs.

Dr. Lui said, “There’s a lot of information out there but the reason why we’re doing this is that we’re trying to prevent the spread of our own germs out to the public.”

He said once people get a mask they should also learn the proper way to wear them.

“Make sure that when you do put your mask on that it covers your ears, make sure it’s tight around the mouth,” Dr. Lui said. “And if you do have a bendable metal that could actually pinch around the top of your nose, that would be even better because that really covers any air coming in or out.”

At T&L Muumuu Factory, workers are sewing more than 2,000 masks every three to four days, Truong is hoping to fill the demand amid shortage of masks.

Truong said, “We want to have priority to the healthcare to those in the front lines first and whatever we have remaining will be going to the public whether it be online or emailing us or reserving the amount you need and as soon as we get them.”

Truong said for every mask T&L Muumuu Factory sells they will donate a mask to a healthcare worker on the frontlines. 

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