Wearing cloth masks will be the new normal for the next two years, possibly forever, says Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
She was speaking at the launch of the Ubuntu cloth mask initiative at Coconut Jazz in Goodwood.
This public-private initiative is part of the provincial government health plan to provide free quality masks to children and adults in at-risk communities in the province.
Coconut Jazz is one of many textile companies to feel the effects of coronavirus. Co-owners Fiona Hoadley and Sari De Villiers once created swimwear and lingerie for big retail stores. Now they are producing cloth masks for poor communities.
Ms Hoadley said the masks were made according to Western Cape Department of Health guidelines.
Threading elastic through loops in the masks, Irma Kirby said they had been back at work for two weeks. She said she had never dreamed that one day she would be making masks.
Dr Mbombo said fabric face masks were an extra measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 because they stopped infected people spreading the virus through respiratory droplets when they coughed or sneezed.
The Ubuntu mask partnership invites businesses and the public to make direct financial contributions through the Health Foundation. The foundation’s CEO, Harry Grainger, said all donations would be used to make cloth masks for vulnerable communities. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 072 613 3719 or for general information about the initiative, contact email@example.com or 021 483 884.