Face-mask Mania: Kiwis Rush to Buy Face Covers Following Latest Lockdown
New Zealand just celebrated 100 days since the last recorded case of community transmission. But Covid-19 has once again raised its ugly head . We look at the corresponding surge in demand for face masks and your buying options.
Last week Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said he would consider the need for face masks if New Zealand moved back to alert level 2.
Just seven days later, Auckland has been plunged into lockdown once again. Social distancing is in force across the rest of the country, and face masks have become the No.1 item on many people’s shopping lists.
Since the new lockdown was announced, ‘face masks’ has become one of the most-searched terms according to Google Trends. The Finder website has also been flooded with thousands of visits from those looking to get their hands on cloth masks, surgical masks and P2 masks.
Many Kiwis are now asking, is New Zealand going to run out of masks? Do you even need to wear one? And what are your options if you want to buy a face mask?
Are face masks mandatory?
At the time of writing, no, but that may change. Right now Prime Minister Jacinda Arhern is strongly urging everyone to cover their face when out in public, even if it’s with a scarf or a bandana.
The one exception is air travel, with Air New Zealand announcing that face masks are essential for all travellers out of Auckland.
But as we’ve seen in recent days, things can change rapidly. New Zealand may soon be following the example of countries like England and France in making face masks mandatory in public.
Will New Zealand run out of face masks?
There have been reports of suppliers being inundated with orders for masks, with some struggling to meet the recent surge in demand. But unless you’re especially fussy about the style of face mask you’re looking for, you should be fine.
Major supermarkets Countdown, New World and Pak ‘n Save have all confirmed they have adequate face mask supplies. The government has also announced that it will release five million masks from its central supply to any regions in need.
I need a face mask – what are my options?
As stated above, there are plenty of face masks available to purchase both online and in store. There are a number of different types to choose from, depending on your needs.
If you’re feeling creative, or just want to save a little money, you could even look at making your own face mask at home. It won’t provide you with the air-filtering capabilities of some of the shop-purchased options, but it will stop you touching your face.
If you’re in Auckland, a homemade option may also be a productive way to pass the time during this latest lockdown.
Learn more in our comprehensive face mask guide.