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Maine fabric store makes cloth face masks during the coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak

A fabric store in Auburn, Maine is pivoting to meet the demand of cotton face masks due to the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.

AUBURN, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video explains how you can make your own mask without a sewing machine.

Since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control starting recommending people wear cloth face masks in public, businesses are pivoting to meet the demand during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, including Fabric Warehouse in Auburn, and Allen Manufacturing in Lewiston.

Christopher Riley and his brother Tim never thought they would be responding to a health crisis like this.

"You think you do one thing and then it turns itself on its head," said Christopher.

The brothers who live together, own Fabric Warehouse in Auburn. The virus that shut them down, also gave them a new mission.

"Keep our staff employed and do something worthwhile," said Christopher.

Partnering with Allen Manufacturing in Lewiston, the businesses are creating kits with supplies, so people can sew their own masks.

"The fabric is pre-shaped on a hydroponic press, there's thread, the proper size of elastic and a set of instructions everyone gets. We're utilizing the skills of everyone stuck at home," said Tim.

Social Distancing Video

The kits contain enough fabric for 25 masks, and are designed by a hospital in Boston. The business owners hope once people make enough for themselves, they are able to give the rest to family and friends.

"This must be the feeling everyone had in WWII, that everyone pitched in, everyone did that they had to do, it wasn't about profits, it wasn't about what's best for me, it's what's best for our neighbors, our community, our country," said Allen Manufacturing owner Dave Allen.

The masks are not medical grade. The companies are also selling masks already made for those who can't sew. 

Links to both are below:

Buy a wide variety of fabrics at discounted prices at Fabric Warehouse.com. Featuring drapery, upholstery, marine and automotive fabric sold by the yard.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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