Frequently Asked Questions

I'm a volunteer. How do I get more information?

Please see our volunteer knowledgebase for all the details you need to know.

Why are you making homemade masks?

Over 2,200 organizations in 42 states, DC and Puerto Rico have requested handsewn mask donations to battle the shortage caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Are homemade masks effective?

Yes. A Cambridge University study found in 2013 that cotton-blend masks are 80% as effective at filtration as a surgical mask, and appropriate for emergency use during an influenza pandemic. 100% cotton and other materials are also acceptable.

Who needs a mask during the coronavirus pandemic?

Everyone can benefit from using a face mask to reduce the likelihood of direct transmission.

Is it okay to use a hand sewn mask?

The FDA recently issued emergency regulations of its enforcement policy for masks. Our masks are not considered medical purpose masks under their guidelines because they are not labeled or otherwise intended for use by a health care professional; 2) they are not labeled or otherwise for use in a healthcare facility or environment; and 3) they do not include any drugs, biologics, or anti-microbial/anti-viral agents.

Can a doctor or nurse use these masks?

The FDA recognizes that, when alternatives, such as FDA-cleared masks or respirators, are unavailable, individuals, including healthcare professionals, might improvise personal protective equipment (PPE). FDA does not intend to object to individuals’ distribution and use of improvised PPE when no alternatives, such as FDA-cleared masks or respirators, are available.

In response to the respirator shortage crisis due to COVID-19, the CDC has indicated that "it may be necessary for healthcare professionals to use masks that have never been evaluated or approved by NIOSH (including homemade masks). It may be considered to use these masks for care of patients with COVID-19, tuberculosis, measles, and varicella. However, caution should be exercised when considering this option."

How many volunteers do you have?

As of today we have over 11,900 volunteers spread amongst every state plus DC and Puerto Rico.

How many organizers are there in The Masks Now Coalition?

We have 19 national organizers and 125 leads in 42 states, but we’re always looking for more state/regional organizers, in addition to people who can find organizations that need masks, who can sew a pretty awesome mask, and who can distribute masks.

Are these masks made for children?

No.

Who should request face masks from our volunteers?

Any organization can request masks, including healthcare facilities that have patients, support staff, or visitors who would like more protection than being without a face mask. That includes dentists, veterinarians, nursing homes, clinics, emergency responders, grocery stores, and even hospitals may requisition mask donations aware of the above caveats.

How many organizations are asking for hand sewn masks?

Over 2,200 organizations in 42 states have asked for handsewn masks, with almost 700 healthcare facilities requesting masks to supplement their complement of surgical masks and N95 respirators. That’s because every mask we donate for non-clinical use frees up a manufactured mask for a doctor or nurse.