Some offices in Georgia are beginning to re-open as COVID-19 numbers stabilize, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are still urging people to wear non-medical face masks and coverings when outside the home.
These are different from N95s or even loose-fitting surgical masks. They can be reusable cloth masks, bandanas, scarves, or any other fabric (such as cotton, silk, and linen) that helps reduce the amount of large particles and droplets you breathe in or spread to others. They should cover the nose and mouth and should be washed in hot water and dried on high heat between uses to kill bacteria and viruses (of any kind)
If your business is going to re-open soon, and plans to make masks part of the reopening process, which you should certainly seriously consider, you should, as the employer, also be the one providing said masks, in the same way as you provide other office supplies.
But where should you buy masks that 1) won't break the bank 2) are considered acceptable for purpose and 3) employees will not be horrified to be asked to wear. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.
Just the Basics: Office Depot
If you want to go for a basic, paper mask then adding them to your regular order at Office Depot may be the way to go. The company is currently selling standard blue paper masks that meet all CDC and WHO guidelines for $30 for a box of 50.
The disadvantage here is that these masks can only be used once. If you want to provide employees with a more permeant solution we'd suggest another option on our list.
Branded: Custom Ink
Want to offer your employees a permeant, washable cloth mask branded with the company logo? A great solution for retailers, medical offices and other customer facing operations, you can pick up high quality soft masks with three layers of 100% cotton at Custom Ink and have them branded with the logo/message of your choice.
Prices start at $9 per piece with a 20-mask minimum for custom orders, but these may be well worth the investment if you want to maintain a uniform staff appearance and provide employees with an easy to care for mask that will last.
Great for Glasses Wearers: Emilia George
A number of apparel manufacturers who normally 'do' other things have changed their processes to include masks. Emilia George is a high end maternity wear supplier, but their sustainable masks have become a big hit with fashion conscious glasses wearers who hate the fact that many standard masks fog up their lenses fast.
Each mask features a webbed interfacing middle layer and a flexible nose bridge design that's perfect for accommodating specs, and it's offered in a variety of colors. Each mask costs $10 but there is no minimum purchase requirement, so may be an ideal choice for a smaller workforce.
Fun: Kenny Flowers
Wearing a mask at work is made more palatable for some if they look fun or cool. Kenny Flowers are offering a range of masks that are perfect for summer wear as not only are they crafted from a lighter weight – but still fully CDC compliant – cotton but also feature a range of colorful summer designs. And at three for $24 they offer a little fun at a very affordable price to boot.