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Mask Up, Oxford!

With face coverings mandatory in shops as of 24th July, and becoming mandatory in galleries, museums and cinemas from 8th August, we’ve been celebrating this simple, important way to protect the community from coronavirus, by asking everyone to share their masked selfies with us. You can still join in with the campaign, by sharing your photos with us on Facebook, or emailing them to [email protected], and we’ll keep sharing our favourites below.

Still need to stock up on a reusable mask? The BBC have this handy guide to making your own and wearing it properly, and Patrick Grant of Sewing Bee fame has rounded up lots of Bees past and present to show you how to make a number of different designs in handy video tutorials. But if you don’t have time to get crafty, there are some great options on sale from local businesses around Oxford.

Top tip thanks to Oxfordshire All In: if you wear glasses and find they steam up when you put your mask on, put a drop of washing up liquid on each lens, rub it in and buff it to a shine.

Councillor Craig Simmons, Lord Mayor of Oxford says:

“Until we have this virus beaten, we need to all wear masks whenever we are in close contact with others. For example, in shops and hairdressers.
This is not just to comply with the law, it is about respecting others. So please look after those around you, and together we can protect Oxford.”
Oxford City Council advice:

"Face coverings are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection. So the more people who wear facemasks the less chance the virus has to spread.

As well as following the new rules on wearing face coverings, people should continue to follow the guidance that has helped reduce the rate of coronavirus:

  • Regular hand washing with soap and water
  • Avoid busy gatherings
  • Maintain 1 metre plus distancing
  • Self-isolate if you start to have symptoms of coronavirus and call 119 to get a test"

Masks don’t have to be inaccessible - Sew Special make these fantastic communicator masks - the panel is so that people who rely on lip reading can see what you’re saying. Amy works with Deaf pupils and shared her mask with us:

On a tight budget? Volunteers have been hand-making reusable masks for people to take for free from special Mask Trees. There are trees in Wheatley, Kennington, Abingdon, Nuneham, Bicester and several around Witney - find your nearest one online.

Clare Hodgkin Millinery, based on the Cowley Road, are making masks in a variety of colours and patterns, as modelled by Will from the Vaults Cafe below. You can order through the Facebook page, and 15% of the profits goes to The Black Curriculum, a charity focused on supporting anti-racism through education.

The team at Fairtrade at St Michael’s have transformed the shop to ensure a healthy and safe experience while you stock up on ethically-sourced homeware, food, cleaning products and gifts. Here are two of the team kitted out in Fair Trade masks - they are in high demand but restocking soon!

Debbie Hastings is modelling one of her fabulous creations, available at East Oxford Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Here are some of the Daily Info team and family sporting homemade masks:

And our friends at the Museum of Oxford (the sailboat design is by local artist Lisa Curtis)

Here are Verity and Gordon, owners of Bonners in the Covered Market, masked up and ready to bring you fresh, locally grown fruit and veg!

And Luciana sporting a fabulous decorated visor while working at Teardrop Bar, also in the Covered Market:

Another great homemade effort from our Facebook follower Will:

And some fetching dachshunds for Clare and her daughter!

Not everyone is able to wear a face covering - click here for the official list of exemptions, which includes children under the age of 11, those with disabilities and certain medical conditions, and those for whom wearing a mask causes severe distress. Often the disabilities or reasons that prevent people from wearing a mask are invisible so do bear this in mind if you spot someone without a mask. Many people who are not wearing a mask will be worried about going out in public and ‘sticking out’ without a face covering on, and may be concerned about being challenged. Be kind!

Although it isn’t a requirement, some people with exemptions will choose to wear or carry a badge, card or lanyard to show to shop staff and bus drivers if they are challenged. Providers of these include the UK Government, Asthma UK (whose page also includes links to transport operators who provide cards), Hidden Disabilities (the Sunflower lanyard), and Disability Horizons.

Mental health charity Mind has a comprehensive guide to reducing anxiety around mask wearing.

Are you handy with a needle and thread? Oxford City Council is asking for donations of cloth face masks for vulnerable households as part of the coronavirus response. The masks will be distributed along with other essential supplies the Council is providing for those most in need across the city.

If you have the time and skill to make a few facemasks, or even to organise your friends to a sewing bee to produce a bundle your contribution could make a real difference. If you are all thumbs when it comes to sewing but would like to contribute, the Council would welcome shop-bought washable face masks and donations from any businesses with surplus masks.

Donate by post to Locality response hub, Rose Hill Community Centre, Carole’s Way, Oxford OX4 4HF. For donations of more than five masks, the Council can organise to collect; so you may prefer to put together a box of donations from friends and neighbours. Please get in touch by emailing [email protected] to arrange this.

Want to see (half) your face here? Share your selfies on our Facebook post or email them to us - [email protected]. You can find all the latest local coronavirus updates on our Coronavirus Info page.

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