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Lynnette Mackenzie’s face mask business has been booming. Photo: SUPPLIED

Masks quickly become handbag essential

A Thames Valley grandmother making 20 masks a day to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 believes face coverings are an item everyone will end up owning.
Lynnette Mackenzie, from Puriri, has already made hundreds of reusable cotton face masks during the current Covid-19 outbreak. On one hand, she’s surprised at just how booming her business has become. On the other, government regulations making mask-wearing the “new normal” contributed greatly to its success, she told The Profile.
In a September 1 update from the Ministry of Health, it became mandatory for people to wear a face covering if they were a customer or an employee involving customer contact at a business or service operating at Covid-19 alert level 3. At level 2, people legally must wear a face covering when on public transport, on flights, visiting healthcare or aged-care facilities, and inside retail businesses and public venues, such as libraries and museums.
“I think it’s something we’re all going to end up owning… in our handbags, in our cars,” Lynnette said.
“This time I’ve made double what I did last time, and I think that’s because it is mandatory.”
Lynnette said having four children and nine grandchildren meant there was always “little sewing bits and pieces to do”, but at the end of the last lockdown, she started making washable, reusable masks for her family.
Things started developing when Lynnette’s creations were put online, and she was now making at least 20 masks a day.
She had been running on old stock until the Thames Valley dropped to level 3 on August 31, and she’s since been buying more fabric through contactless delivery to keep up with demand.
“A lot of people are saying they are finding them comfortable. One lady said to me she would normally rip off her mask as quickly as she could once she’d get out of the supermarket, but she was actually in her car driving when she realised she needed to take my mask off. So that’s really good feedback.”
And although it wasn’t mandatory for children under the age of 12 to wear a face covering, Lynnette had also been making and selling masks for the younger age group.
“I’m pleased to think that I’m helping to look after the community, and that I’m doing something that isn’t just for money,” she said.
“[This lockdown], my house is not clean, food is not prepared, there is no baking… nothing is being done, except the masks.”
Lynnette’s masks can be found on Facebook Marketplace. By KELLEY TANTAU