Column: Who needs designer masks?

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

It looks like I have some mask shopping to do.

No, not for Halloween, though I do wonder how that is going to roll out this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Will trick-or-treaters be required to wear masks beneath their masks? Will there be a downtown Treat Trail or a Haney Spooktacular? Sadly, it seems unlikely, but we shall see.

Back to the mask hunt. Of course I am referring to the fabric facial coverings we are expected, or required, to wear when physical distancing may not be possible.

My family will soon return from their annual summer activities near the Yukon border, and they will be needing masks. This occurred to me during a recent stop at a Vernon store. I was, however, put off by the overwhelming selection and pricing.

Obviously, the demand for masks we saw early on in the pandemic, that had locals sewing at home to support health-care providers, has since been met by the market, and then some. There now appears to be enough variety in styles and patterns to meet even the most eccentric tastes.

Read more: Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Read more: COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

There’s a cloth xenomorph face-hugger mask, inspired by a critter from the 1979 Sci-Fi classic Alien (and its numerous sequels), that appeals to me. I’m definitely not a fan of the large beige mask that came with a three-pack I bought earlier this summer. The first time I put it on, and saw my reflection in a store window, I thought I was wearing half a bra stolen off a clothesline from the ’70s.

I also take issue with spending $25 or more for 1 cloth mask just because it’s by a particular designer or has some wacky pattern or image on it (such as a face-hugger).

I know some people will spend an exorbitant amount of money for similarly small amounts of material to wear at the beach, but I can’t do it for a mask. I’ll take function over fashion.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, when properly worn, non-medical face coverings (of two or more layers) can help reduce the risk of infection. Masks should not be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance.

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