HONOLULU(KHON2)–Friday marked the first day of Mayor Caldwell’s strong recommendation that everyone wear a mask if they have to be out in public.

The CDC made a similar recommendation nationwide for group settings like stores. Officials said medical grade masks should still be saved for only medical workers who need them. But for everyone else, handmade fabric masks will do just fine.

Premier Medical Group’s Dr. Scott Miscovich said masks are one of the broadened steps that go along with social isolation. He held a colorful, purple, fabric mask and said that we are definitely going to be seeing more of them around.

Fabric masks are in high demand now that officials are suggesting everyone wear them whenever they leave home.

The good news is there are a number of places making them locally.

Carissa Sugita and Ashley Benn own Akira Collection. They’ve gone from making bathing suits to masks.

“We really wanted to, not just sit back and watch, but we wanted to make a difference in this time of need,” Sugita said.

They are providing masks to hospitals and nursing homes for free. For everyone else, it’s $15.

If you’re thinking of sewing your own mask, you’re not alone. Fabric stores are getting swamped.

Kathy Crosier said she was waiting almost two and a half hours to get into Fabric Mart.

“When I heard the mayor talk about needing masks to go out, I needed to buy some material,” Crosier said.

Fabric Mart is now limiting some supplies needed for masks.

Their website states: “Due to high demand for elastic, we will be limiting the amount of elastic sold and only doing in-store purchases.”

There are a number of free patterns online and tutorials that demonstrate how to sew a mask. If you don’t feel like buying material, you can use an old shirt, or cut up a piece of clothing you don’t wear.

Once you are able to get your hands on a fabric mask, Miscovich said you want to make sure it fits your face correctly. It should fit snugly on the bridge of your nose and reach down past your chin.

“The material masks, the great thing about them is you can wash them. So use soap and water, hot water, preferably 160 to 180 degrees,” Miscovich said.

Then stick them in a dryer or line dry them in the sun.

He added that it’s important to handle them properly when you take them off after you’ve gone to the grocery store or anywhere where you came in contact with people.

“You take (the mask) off, put it right into something and wash it.”

He said that you shouldn’t touch the part of the mask that covered your mouth. You should only touch the straps that go around your ears. Otherwise you could be spreading germs.

Miscovich stressed that material masks only provide some protection.

“(A material mask) does protect you from the bigger droplets of other people if someone sneezed and had bigger droplets coming at you. But it does not protect the little micro viral particles that would be aerosolized.”

If you don’t sew, or can’t afford to buy a mask, you can make a mask using a bandana and two rubberbands or using scissors, a needle and thread and an old bra. There are free tutorials for both online.

Like Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said, “Something is better than nothing.”

Here are some resources for material masks:

Akira Collection
$15 Masks

Island Slipper
$8 Masks

Skydreams LLC




XO Restuarant in Kaimuki, 3434 Waialae Avenue