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News » Local News

Local Mask Force

Local businesses and makers band together to bring masks (now mandatory in Oregon) to the people of Bend



As of July 1, masks became mandatory in indoor public places throughout Oregon, per Gov. Kate Brown’s late June announcement. All you have to do is hop on Facebook for 5 minutes to see that mandatory masks are quite the topic of contention. Some wish the guidelines would have been implemented sooner; others believe requiring masks severely compromises their personal freedom.

Whether you are onboard or not, the reality is this: if you don’t have a mask, you won’t be allowed inside. Refusing to comply could seriously affect local businesses, which might face fines from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health agency if someone reports them.

A recent study published by researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that without a mask, droplets produced by a standard cough can travel up to 8 feet (beyond the recommended 6 foot social distancing mandate). Bandanas were reportedly the least effective option, reducing the spread to 3 feet. The most effective option? Multi-layered sewn masks, which reduce the spread to just 2.5 inches.

As far as affordable and readily available options, multi-layered sewn masks are the most effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. - UTILITU SEWING + DESIGN
  • utilitu sewing + design
  • As far as affordable and readily available options, multi-layered sewn masks are the most effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

While medical-grade masks are the most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, health officials recommend people leave N-95s for the professionals in case of a future shortage. Many local businesses are carrying affordable and effective masks, and many local makers dedicated to keeping community members safe (and on trend).

We've rounded some of the many Bend businesses currently selling fun, fashion-forward and functional masks. See the growing list below, and add yours by emailing cayla@bendsource.com.

Meli Wraps handmakes eco friendly, functional and summertime-friendly face covers. - MELI WRAPS
  • Meli Wraps
  • Meli Wraps handmakes eco friendly, functional and summertime-friendly face covers.

Meliwraps, Bend-based maker of innovative household supplies (featured in our article “Companies on the Rise” in 2019), is making 100% cotton face masks out of some pretty adorable fabric. Check out options at meliwraps.com or Whole Foods in Bend.

Local hatmakers extraordinaire, Jax Hats, have some functional and fun masks for sale at Flipped Consignment Boutique (across the street from The Lot) and online at jaxhats.com. All masks are 100% cotton, handmade and created entirely from recycled materials. If you’re the kind of person who likes to match your mask with your OOD, these trendy cotton statement pieces will be right up your alley.

A colorful assortment of face masks - one for every day of the week! - OUTSIDE IN
  • Outside In
  • A colorful assortment of face masks - one for every day of the week!

BlackStrap Industries Inc. is producing a multi-layered mask they call the Civil Mask, a functional and super sturdy answer to public health requirements. For every Civil Mask sold, one will be donated to someone in need. Check out options at bsbrand.com.

Outside In, a locally owned outdoor lifestyle store in downtown Bend, is offering free disposable masks at the door, meaning maskless Bendites can safely shop for a fashionable alternative. The shop is currently offering masks made by Pacific Northwest company Recap Hats (Washington-based) and German company Maloja Clothing (a more breathable option from a company known for its high-tech outdoor gear).

Lulu’s Boutique in downtown Bend is selling a wide variety of hand-sewn masks. For every mask someone buys, they donate another one. The women’s clothing shop is currently stocked with face coverings by Northern California-based company Masks Couture, and will soon be restocked with Bend-local Jax Hats masks.

One of Allison Murphy's darn cute, hand-sewn masks. - UTILITU SEWING + DESIGN
  • utilitu sewing + design
  • One of Allison Murphy's darn cute, hand-sewn masks.

utilitu sewing + design in Bend is hand-making masks, available online at utilitu.com. Shop owner Allison Murphy has been sewing in Bend for over 12 years. "The masks I make are double-layered cotton, with a bendable nose wire, filter pocket and ties for behind the head," Murphy said. "They're reversible, washable, durable and pretty darn cute."

About The Author

Cayla Clark

Cayla graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting, soon after realizing that playwriting is not a viable career option. Fortunately, this led her to journalism, and she is thrilled to be part of such a unique and fun-loving team. Upcoming local events? Send them her way!

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