(BLOOMINGTON) – City of Bloomington employees are currently being issued fabric masks produced through the efforts of the Bloomington Fabric Mask Drive.
The City coordinated with the volunteer effort led by the Bloomington Quilters’ Guild and Patient Physical Therapy to provide space for mask making and distribution at the Allison-Jukebox Community Center, a Parks and Recreation Department property closed since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Powered by more than 220 volunteers, the mask drive is producing thousands of lightweight lined cotton masks from donated materials for wide distribution across the community. Implementing a streamlined assembly system while maintaining physical distancing in the center, mask makers have been able to increase their output from 200 to around 900 masks per distribution day. Additional partners in the mask drive include Bloomington Mutual Aid and All-In Pediatrics.
“We’re so grateful to the hundreds of community volunteers for meeting this critical need for protective equipment,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “It’s another sure sign of Bloomington’s creative, resourceful, hard-working, and caring spirit.”
In keeping with new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Monroe County Health Department, the City of Bloomington is directing employees to wear a cloth mask if their work brings them into close proximity with others. City employees who work on roads and infrastructure projects, at water treatment plants or other utilities sites, in public safety, transit, public safety, and other areas must often work with a partner or a team, where it is not always possible to maintain the recommended six feet of physical distance. While implementing physical distancing whenever possible, each employee who works in the field is directed to wear the mask over their mouth and nose when around others. Other City employees are being asked to wear their mask when there is the possibility for interaction outside the home.
Although not lab-tested medical equipment, the masks are designed to protect others in case the wearer is unknowingly infected. According to the CDC, it is possible to spread COVID-19 to others even if one does not feel sick. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public. However, the cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Financial donations to support the mask drive and other COVID-19 relief efforts may be made through the United Way (checks with “Bloomington Fabric Mask” in the memo line may be mailed to the United Way, 431 S. College Ave, Bloomington, IN 47403, with ) or online, at http://patientphysicaltherapy.com/bloomington-indiana-fabric-mask-drive-getmeppe/