NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As state and national leaders start recommending the use of facemasks in public, some local businesses are donating materials for reusable masks.
One local woman rallied a team of volunteers to turn bags into masks for healthcare workers.
“I have a son whose good friend is a nurse, and he’s wearing the same mask for over a week, and I thought that was really weird. So I was like, well there’s got to be a better way to be able to wash the mask and to wear the same mask over again,” Gabrielle Champagne said.
She teamed up with Fleurty Girl to use their cloth bags, which is the same material used for a liner for the masks.
"I had no idea, and she asked if we could donate some and I said of course, sure. Whatever we need to do to help get these out there," Fleurty Girl Owner Lauren Haydel said.
So just how helpful are homemade masks for the general public?
“Anything, the scarves, the surgical masks, though they won’t keep that out, what it’ll do is it will help you keep your respiratory droplets in, which decreases the viral load in the community. There will be less virus available in theory, for people to breathe in,” Dr. Eric Griggs said.
He said while homemade masks may not keep the virus out, it prevents people from touching their faces.
"It's our hands, and we're touching our hand. as we breathe out droplets, they land on certain surfaces. We touch them, we touch our mouths, our nose, our eyes, and that's how we're able to become infected. Having a mask over your face or something protecting your face prevents you and reminds you not to do that," Griggs said.
Haydel said while their stores are closed, she's glad they can do something to help.
"Everybody kind of gets together and it's like how can I help this person? How can I help that person? And it just makes you feel good. It helps you from not getting down in these situations," Haydel said.
Champagne says she’s delivered 180 masks to healthcare workers on both sides of the lake.