Face masks in high demand as Mid-South businesses reopen

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 3:23 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As more of the Mid-South heads back to work masks are becoming the new must-have item.

“To keep the spread down, just keep the spread down,” said Taylor Smith, mask wearer.

Taylor Smith believes people should be wearing masks during the pandemic.

Most people were wearing masks Wednesday at the Home Depot in East Memphis.

Everyone in the Smith family wears a mask.

“It’s very important, you know, because of the environment and everything. And it keeps us safe with us breathing and it keeps us safe with us breathing in everyone else’s air,” said Shamocca Smith, mask wearer.

People not wearing masks didn’t want to do an interview.

The Memphis City Council approved on first reading on Tuesday the wearing of face coverings during a public health covering. And the Shelby County Health Department has been urging people to war face masks in public.

“I want to re-emphasize we’re reopening but the virus is still there. It’s important to safe distancing. We’re covering our nose and mouth,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department.

Beginning on Thursday, all of the Shelby County Health Department clinics will be giving away free fabric masks.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has called for the masks to be given to every Tennessean. The masks are being provided by the Renfro Corporation, a sock manufacturer in partnership with Lee’ s Unified Command Group.

One East Tennessee lawmaker, Democrat Gloria Johnson, seemed to take a dim view of the masks saying the package says not for medical use and they seem too porous and look like a sock was cut in half. And yet, most regular citizens are wearing masks that are not for medical use.

Just about everyone agrees wearing the masks is not fun.

“It’s annoying. It’s more difficult to breathe. You don’t get the fresh air, irritating on the face but it’s worth it,” said Smith.

For people like Brandon Ingram, who freely admits masks are important, but says they keep the world from one thing.

“I feel like I’m cheating the world of my beauty,” said Ingram.

Those masks are available in Shelby County beginning Thursday. For a listing of the locations and times, click here.

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