HONOLULU – Since state leaders began recommending people to wear face masks in public, the demand for them has skyrocketed.
The problem is finding them.
So, many seamstresses, fashion designers and the not-so-crafty have started sewing them to give it family, friends and healthcare workers. The supplies, fabric and elastic, are readily available in specialty fabric stores.
However, in an announcement last week, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said fabric stores are not deemed an essential business under the Stay at Home proclamation and ordered all fabric stores to close its doors.
A petition making its way around social media is asking him to reconsider. The creator of the online petition and City Council candidate, Jacob Aki, noticed how the community has stepped up to provide the homemade masks and knew that the Mayor’s decision would slow or even stop their efforts.
“For the Mayor to ask these distributors, these stores, to cease operations-we are losing a real valuable resource during a times when we need to do what we can to make sure that not only for those working on the front lines, but to ensure the people of our state are protected,” he says.
In a revised order on April 9, Mayor Caldwell says fabric stores may continue to operate online and through phone orders. The mask makers who Aki spoke to said this is not an acceptable solution.
“They need to feel the fabric, the different weight, textures, they need see the thread,” he explained. Aki says when he reaches his goal of 500 signatures, he will present it to the Mayor with a letter explaining the need to reopen stores.