Where to Buy Face Masks – Unmasking the Secret
It's probably on your mind...
Where do you buy face masks during the Coronavirus Crisis?
By Lu, OTL Seat Fillers
If you’re like me, you’re probably somewhat confused about the whole protective mask issue during this Coronvirus Crisis. The entire thing has been fuzzy. But we've got to figure it out, as it appears that masks could soon be required and part of our lives for a long time to come.
Masks are a bit like toilet paper, though. Where do you buy them? They’re not on the shelves, and there are few online outlets. Is there some secret, hidden location that's filled to the brim with face masks, toilet paper, and paper towels?
So, I’ve been doing some research and wanted to share my findings to, hopefully, save you some time. I can’t work any magic and get one in your hand within 24 hours. However, I suggest that you place an order to at least get the ball rolling. Having one on the way is better than hoping that stores will start to stock them. Plus, there are a few suppliers that can get one in your hands (or on your face) in less than a week.
Brace yourself, though, as masks aren’t dollar store items. I just placed an order through MaskClub. While it’s washable, and a step up from your typical blue standard-issue item that would be less expensive, it did come to $20, including shipping.
CDC Mask Guidelines
Like most of the masks that are available for public purchase, these stores aren’t selling medical-grade masks. It's not enough to know where to buy face masks, you've got to know if they're good enough.
So, when you’re shopping on any of the suppliers on this list, you’re going to want to look for the ones that meet CDC guidelines:
- Multiple layers of fabric
- Tie or have ear loops to secure the sides
- Fit snugly, while still allowing for natural breathing
- Hold their shape (and function) after laundering
MaskClub - Feel Good Purchase and Fun Face Masks
Buy one, and one is donated to the First Responders Children’s Foundation
As I just mentioned, I ordered a mask from MaskClub. It’s about the farthest thing from standard-issue, though.
This supplier is where you go to make sure you can actually purchase a mask, as they’re making them to order.
At MaskClub, every time you buy a mask, one is donated to the First Responders Children’s Foundation. The premise is the primary reason why I wanted to list this supplier first.
Another benefit to buying from MaskClub is the fun factor of their branded items. You can get one with a Batman logo or Hello Kitty. There are designs with The Flintstones, Mr. Potato Head, Powerpuff Girls, and many other designs that are fun and functional.
Masks are $13.99 each. There’s also a monthly subscription option.
Etsy - Buy Face Masks with a Wide Range of Prices
You may know Etsy as the marketplace for artists and craftspeople. Now, some of them are turning their talents to mask making.
Etsy has a wide variety and at all price ranges. You can get a simple cloth mask for as little as $4.99 or go all out and spend $30 or more. So, for more selections when it comes to face masks, Etsy is a great resource.
Love Your Melon - Youth and Adult Face Mask Sizes
Love Your Melon started in 2012 with the mission of improving the lives of children battling cancer. Its standard catalog includes a wide variety of unusual hats and blankets.
These days, Love Your Melon has expanded its service during the COVID-19 crisis and has rolled out a line of face masks. You can buy a ten-pack of disposable masks for just $10 or reusable versions for $15 to $20. Youth masks are also available.
Here’s the scoop, though. At the time of this writing (mid-April), Love Your Melon was out of stock. However, I opted to include it anyway, as there’s a message on the site stating that “Coming soon products will be replenished in 1-2 weeks.” Also, there's an option to add your email to the list to receive updates so that you're notified as to when the masks are back in stock.
Custom Ink - Fast Order Turnaround
Custom Ink is an online supplier that’s typically turning around custom t-shirts. Of course, we’re not in typical times. So, like many other businesses, the clothing provider has added to its collection with face masks.
You’re not going to find crazy patterns or unusual designs with Custom Ink’s masks. But, they are going to be super comfy, and they’re soft like t-shirts.
Unlike the other vendors that I’ve already mentioned, Custom Ink doesn’t sell one mask at a time. However, you may appreciate a pack of 12 black reusable masks, as it should be more than enough to equip your entire family. The family dozen is $30.
Ding, ding, ding! Custom Ink is a winner, winner, chicken dinner with its turnaround time. When I check in on April 15th, the site was showing a ship date of April 17th!
Amazon - Multiple Vendors
I have to include Amazon as it’s such a staple in our lives, and, for some of us, the primary go-to for everything we need daily.
The problem with Amazon these days is that you can’t count on speeding things up with a Prime account. The delivery times aren’t nearly as accurate as they’ve traditionally been on the site.
In my experience, though, many of my orders have arrived much earlier than the date on the site. I’ve only had one exception to that rule, and, unfortunately, it’s a thermometer. I’ve been waiting 45 days and counting for a single thermometer.
I’ve looked at quite a few face masks and compared shipping dates to find some of the best. Hopefully, these will hold up, but be sure to double-check if you’re placing an order.
Buying Face Masks
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing everything daily. New suppliers are popping up all of the time, and stores are replenished as frequently as possible. So, one day your local drug store could be entirely out of masks, and the next, it could be adequately stocked.
It’s probably a good idea for all of us to place orders from a few online stores, as well as keep watching the brick and mortar aisles. It seems like life is all about back-up plans these days. And, again, be sure to review the CDC guidelines to make sure that you're purchasing a mask that will protect you and everyone in which you come into contact.
In any case, I hope that these few suggestions are helpful.
Coronavirus Around the World - Personal Stories
You may also be interested in checking out our blog series on Coronavirus around the World. We’ve asked writers in various countries to share their observations and how the crisis has impacted them. It’s one thing to read a news report, and another to have access to diary-like submissions. We’re adding new posts to the series almost every day.
Stay safe and healthy!
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