Businesses, snowbirds use downtime to make masks to keep people safe during COVID-19 outbreak

Businesses, snowbirds use downtime to make masks to keep people safe during COVID-19 outbreak

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - As cases of coronavirus skyrocket, so does the demand for face masks, especially as the CDC reconsiders asking the general public to wear a mask, sick or not. With the severe shortage of masks, many are turning to seamstresses for homemade versions.

In D’Iberville, it’s not unusual to hear the hum of a sewing machine at Gulf Coast Wardrobe, especially now, during prom and spring wedding season.

This year, the ladies at Gulf Coast Wardrobe aren’t busy altering dresses; they’re sewing masks. The spread of the coronavirus has led to the cancellation of most events, so owner Jackie Benne found another way to keep the doors of her shop open.

“It helps the employees that would not be here without making these masks, and definitely helps us pay our bills here, and it helps the community, I hope," Benne said.

In just the past week and a half, Benne and her team have sewn 400 masks. It’s something to keep her hands busy, though Benne said her mind is just as busy worrying about the unknowns of what’s to come next.

“I’m frightened, really, about not just my own business but everyone’s; it’s just scary," she said.

Masks from Gulf Coast Wardrobe are $8. Benne recommends texting the number on her page for more information.

It’s not just businesses sewing masks. Over in Biloxi, snowbird Rebecca Bundenthal has turned the bedroom of her condo into a sewing room. She joined the Facebook group Mask Response after seeing their story on WLOX and volunteered to help out.

“I thought I’d grab some fabric from the fabric store and make a quilt to take back for a mission project that we have up at our home church, but these are more important than the quilt,” she said.

Bundenthal and her husband have been coming to Biloxi every year for eight years, but this is their first time as quarantined snowbirds.

“I’m giving back to society. I’m taking my free time, and my quarantine time and making these,” Bundenthal said.

To volunteer with Mask Response, join their Facebook group.

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