Where to find face masks
Businesses stock up on latest health necessity
By Tim Hadac
Just as Governor JB Pritzker was signing a modified version of the state’s
stay-at-home order last weekÑwhich included a new requirement that people wear
masks in public placesÑthe free market caught up.
The mask shortages seen in March are gone at this point, as face coverings
seem to be available just about everywhere, and at bargain-basement prices.
Online, masks are available from dozens of retailers in dozens of styles.
Basic, single-use masks can be had for as little 50 cents each when purchased
For a few dollars more, masks are available in all shapes, sizes and
colorsÑincluding tie-dye. Masks even carry sports-team logos, political slogans
and humorous images.
Locally, if they are in stock, masks are being sold in pharmacies, grocery
stores, home improvement stores and gas stations.
Masks are even available through neighbors on social media. Across the
Southwest Side and Southwest Suburbs, people have put their sewing machines to
use, churning out scores of masks daily.
Masks have even been sold on street corners. A man identifying himself as
Jose B. has been selling them out of his car near 43rd Street and Cicero
Avenue, a busy stretch of road even in the reduced-traffic times of pandemic.
“Business was good last week, when I first got out here,” he said. “People
were happy I could hook them up with masks. But I may not be here much longer,
because it’s like, man, everybody’s selling masks now. I have to move on to
“Maybe I’ll start selling [coronavirus] tests,” he added with a laugh.
When looking for a mask, experts said cotton fabrics are among the best at
filtering out the virus and remaining breathable. The more layers the better.
They should also be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or
change to shape.
Starting Friday, the governor’s order requires all people over age 2 to
wear a “face covering or a mask when in a public place where they can’t
maintain a six-foot social distance.” Face-coverings will be required in public
indoor spaces, such as stores.
The governor’s order reflects measures that some retailers had already put
Earlier in April, grocery retailers Shop & Save and Pete’s Fresh
Market announced that they would ask all customers to wear masks while
shopping; and for customers without masks, the stores were selling them from an
South suburban communities also issued mask orders ahead of the state. Oak
Lawn started requiring face masks in public place last Friday and Tinley Park’s
order went into effect this week.
A post on Facebook indicated a shopper was removed from the Oak Lawn
Mariano’s by village police after he entered the store over the weekend without
a mask and refused to comply with requests by store employees and police to put
Pritzker’s amended order also requires essential businesses and
manufacturers to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to
maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that
maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and
customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and
precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for
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