The world has changed drastically over the past few weeks. Words like 'cocooning' and 'social-distancing' have become the norm, pubs and restaurants have shut their doors, festivals have been cancelled, and scrubbing our hands while singing happy birthday has become second nature.
Now, both the HSE and gov.ie, have recommended that people wear a cloth face-covering in situations where it is difficult to practice social distancing for example, in shops or on busy public transport. Wearing these coverings may help prevent people who do not know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
It's recommended to wear face coverings where it's difficult to practice social distancing. If you wear one, you should still do the important things necessary to prevent the spread of #COVID19 such as social distancing and hand hygiene. For more see https://t.co/q4Ahv4HdrG pic.twitter.com/a3qjhq3Txf— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) May 15, 2020
If you're looking to buy some face masks that stand out from the crowd, these Irish designers have been making some exceptionally fashionable face covers.
Eamon McGill Design has launched a collection of face coverings for 2020 which range from a simple pattern for €22.25 to a bride and groom set for €60. Each cover is handmade in Dublin and a percentage of the proceeds from each one sold will be donated to the Simon Community.
We Make Good
We Make Good sell products designed by some of Ireland's emerging designers and made by people facing social challenges. Their washable cloth masks are made by women from a refugee background – present and past employees of The Textile Studio, a charity that provides jobs and training to refugee women. When you purchase a mask for €25, another will be donated to someone in Direct Provision.
Award-winning Irish fashion designer Jennifer Rothwell is selling limited edition non-surgical face masks that range from €22 - €28. The masks are sustainable with zero percent waste and 10 percent of all profits made from the masks will go to the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless.
Designed by Niamh McCabe, these NIMCAKE masks are made to "bring a little joy into the world during this strange time". Made from 100% cotton, the Irish designer describes them as being lightweight, breathable, and gentle on the skin. Adult masks cost €33 while kids' masks cost €20. 15 percent of sales from each mask will be donated to Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.
Irish designer Zoë Carol, who you may remember from RTÉ2's The Fitting Room, has created 100% Irish linen face coverings that cost between €20 and €25 for a pack of three. The pieces are made in Zoë's Rose Cottage Studio from a double layer of Baird McNutt Irish linen and are available in three sizes - toddler, child, and adult.
Irish Socksciety founders Joanna and Alex are based in Galway and are stepping away from their usual business of making colourful socks to create statement face masks. The ladies say that these covers are perfect for those who "crave a bit of a giggle in the outside world". You can pick up a 'Howya' mask for €4.
It is important to remember that these face masks are not medical products, they simply serve as barriers.
To find out how to wear a face covering, how to wash it, and who should not be wearing them, read the HSE's guidelines here.