A mask shortage hit the Czech Republic early in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the people reacted swiftly by making their own masks. Indeed, people in the Czech Republic shared sewing plans and techniques while delivering the final product to hospitals and neighbours. Their joint efforts have proven to be effective when combined with social distancing.
To be clear, the homemade masks aren’t nearly as effective as proper surgical masks. The advantages of homemade masks has been explored by researchers in the past and concludes that homemade masks can help if there is a mask shortage since it lessens exposure.
Can’t make masks, please wear one when out in public even if you’re not sick (but you shouldn’t be in public spaces around other people anyway right now).
As the shortage of masks provided by the government continued, hospitals reached out on social media and asked if people may be able to sew a few masks for them because they were running low. In an unprecedented show of support, many people started making masks, not just for the hospitals but for everybody. The effort was both individual – people making masks by hand sewing or on a sewing machine at home, and organizational – theaters, non-profit organizations, small business and factories which normally produce clothes, linens, accessories redirected their efforts into full-time sewing. Local companies were sewing in bulk, supplying hospitals, senior citizen homes, the police or firemen. Masks were delivered to hospitals or to friends and neighbors who would often find them in their mailboxes. In some areas, people created “mask trees” where they would put available extra masks that were up for grabs for others.