City Now Advising People to Wear Masks or Other Face-Coverings; Local Tailor Now Making Them for $20

Photo by Harvey Potter.

The city released new guidance late in Thursday telling people to wear masks when they’re outside, because of new data that shows masks can help slow the spread of the virus.

The city says that people don’t need medical-grade equipment like N95 masks but should use some face-covering — even a scarf or bandana is adequate if that’s what you have. (N95 masks should be reserved for health care professionals.)

People should also continue practicing the other social-distancing methods that have already been in place like keeping at least six feet away from everyone else.

Some Upper West Side retailers have been selling various kinds of masks and at least one — Master Tailor at 77 West 85th — has transitioned from tailoring to making masks. Master Tailor’s masks are $20, cash-only. They start selling them at 10 a.m., until they’re sold out. Leah from Master Tailor explained their story:

“With COVID-19 spreading all over the world so quickly, we thought of making masks for our family, as the online ones we ordered would take too long to arrive. Simultaneously, a regular customer of ours happened to ask us to make masks for her family.

We began by creating a pattern that is comfortable, with fabric that drapes well against the face and is breathable, with sizes from children to adults.

Our lovely neighbors at Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness, graciously wanted to support us in this crisis and we have been busy ever since.

We now produce masks daily except Sundays, in small numbers by hand focusing on consistent quality and we try to keep our prices affordable for the whole community.

We do not take pre-orders so it’s first come first serve, starting at 10am until we are sold out.

We hope that this tragic time will soon pass and that our masks can help in preventing infected droplets being transferred from person to person and protect from the increasing confirmed cases in NYC.”

Here’s what the Master Tailor masks look like:

NEWS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. LK says:

      “LK says:
      March 8, 2020 at 2:07 pmMarch 8, 2020 at 2:07 pm
      Think about it from a different – unselfish prospective. If we all wear masks to keep our germs in – will we better off? Yes! Because if the person happens to be sick but does not know it, but happens to wear mask – others will be better off! Do you think the person in Westchester intentionally spread the disease? He didn’t know he was sick with COVID-19. Had he worn mask – fewer people would have been infected. Being unselfish is good for everyone! So masks can help – you just need to think differently!”

    2. Danielle Remp says:

      I am so happy that the City finally told us all to cover our faces.

      I’m including a link on how to make a comfortable mask using, simply, a pair of scissors and a t-shirt. I have worn, for some time now, the one that my husband cut out for me three weeks ago. It is very reliable and easy to wash.

      In that You-Tube’s gallery, you will see many other ways to make masks. Some use bra cups, some even vacuum-cleaner bags. There are masks with sanitary pads as a component.

      I find an advantage that the media doesn’t note about wearing a face covering : It inhibits us from touching our faces and is a constant reminder to maintain our distance. Further, I find that the t-shirt mask (unlike store-bought ones) fits so well that we never have to adjust it with (possibly) contaminated hands.

      I hope that this is helpful.

      • Francesca says:

        Thanks. Very helpful.

        • Linda says:


          • Danielle Remp says:

            Incidentally, you can place something inside the t-shirt mask for your own protection or comfort.
            For comfort, one suggestion is a coffee filter (like #4 Melitta), that can be thrown away after each use. Placed upside down to cover nose and mouth, the filter gives you room to move your lips and keeps your mask from getting moist.

            You can fill the t-shirt mask with anything that you think would contribute to your own protection, including hollowed-out fruit halves. Supposedly, citrus inhibits viruses.

            The surgical masks don’t fit snuggly, but with a t-shirt cover on top of them, they stay in place.

      • Suzie E says:

        IMPORTANT! T-shirt material has been eliminated as a mask fabric due to its permeability. Here are directions for making a no-sew mask for those who can’t sew:

        There are LOTS of sites for people who sew; Google “mask pattern”

        The designer is irritatingly chatty, but hang in there. You need the mask before you can go anywhere, anyway! 🙂

        • Danielle Remp says:

          Thanks you for the link. The end product is a far cry from the utilitarian t-shirt mask that I wear.

          I have always worn in my t-shirt mask something extra under it that covers my nose and mouth for extra protection.
          But, of course I’m mindful that the primary purpose of the mask is to protect others — which I’m happy to do.

    3. Steve says:

      Some local pharmacies are selling KN-95 masks. From what I read, they are almost as good as N95 masks and hospitals cannot use them because they are made in China. So, you can protect yourself and your neighbors without worrying that you are taking something that could be better used in a hospital.

    4. Scott says:

      So it’s not just the common cold as DeBlasio recklessly told people a month ago. You wonder what the death toll would be if we had a marginally competent mayor.

      • JL says:

        Trump and BdB turned out to be a lethal combination. Dr. Falchi AND the CDC was also slow in getting ahead of this. Standing next to Trump and correcting misinformation is not the same as yelling FIRE!, when there is an actual fire. There were multiple models each with 3 or 4 weeks lag before the New Rochelle case. The CDC info on their website had stated “Asymptomatic transmission CANNOT be ruled out” – as early as February. We are now talking masks for “healthy” people on April 2nd. And still trying to explain social distancing.

        When it first broke in Italy and on cruise ships in February/January, I told a friend that it was already here in NY. What limited knowledge I have on infectious disease are all from Si-fi and horror movies.

        Be smart, and be kind.

    5. Francesca says:

      Appreciated info. Thanks to Master Tailor.

    6. jem says:

      We are in an uncharted scary and sobering world.

      Now wearing bandanas scarves fabric masks, it seems like a nice gesture to wave (from a safe distance) to delivery workers, bus drivers, strangers on the sidewalk

    7. Priscilla says:

      I hope other neighborhood trailers will follow the exemplary model of Master Tailors. Bravo to them

    8. scoant says:

      I spend a lot of my time in China each year. I got out late January before the sh*t hit the fan. Chinese people have been wearing masks for a long time either for pollution or when they are sick to PROTECT others. Wear your masks, make a craft project out of them. I have been wearing mine since I got home. One of the women in my group drew on her mask something in Chinese characters. I could read a few, but as it was slang she told me what it said “I am not infected”. “my boyfriend just thinks I am too ugly”. These are hard times, but we will get through it.

    9. Danielle Remp says:

      I was out early this afternoon and delighted to see that 90% of pedestrians were wearing some kind of face covering (mostly surgical masks). Also, felt safer that Joseph Pharmacy would not admit anyone without a face cover. (For those without, they offered one for a $1.00. But that insulted some.) In the line, they inquired as to what each customer was seeking, and did not admit a person if the product was not available.

      However, it was not the same in the Chelsea neighborhood, our destination. Only about half had masks. Further, some who had them dropped them down to their neck to converse on their phone.
      Worse was the “A” train coming back. Many homeless were using the seats to sleep on. It was scary. They, of course, were without face covers.

      • lynn says:

        Thanks for the tip re: Joseph’s employees asking about the items the customers want to purchase. Seems a little personal and I’ll be writing mine down for the next trip.

      • Nevets K says:

        The World Health Organization seems neutral on the question of masks. I imagine, perhaps incorrectly, that if the evidence for the wearing of masks were overwhelming, that organization would be strongly in favor.
        We know, however, that social distancing works.
        Still, all in all, it is odd that deep into the crisis we are receiving this guidance to wear masks.
        I trust and hope we will spend no energy on, or any outrage against, citizens who choose not to wear them. That would be terrible deflection and a scapegoating.

        All of our outrage needs to be directed against the President of the United States and his fellow incompetents for failing to prepare the nation and for their failure to lead.

    10. Micki Lavine says:

      I think 20$ is too much
      It should be half the price so everyone can buy it

    11. Jeff says:

      Most home-made masks are a placebo, nothing more. Only surgical quality masks prevent transmission of the virus. Cotton t-shirt material or similar does not prevent transmission of a virus – it only gives a false sense of security. Ill-fitting masks prompt more not less face touching. Many people I see with masks are not wearing them, rather they are pulled down around the neck and chin. Seriously, if the government is going to recommend or require the use of certain equipment the government should make sure that everyone has access to that equipment. To basically say “fend for yourselves and good luck” does nothing to stem the virus but does quite a lot to add to the panic that is gripping our community.

      • Danielle Remp says:

        As I understand it, the face covering is not for self-protection, but to shield others from our own (possibly asymptomatic) infection. It is one of the ways in which Taiwan has reasonably successfully protected its population — and perhaps where the World Health Organization learned a lesson which it is beginning to adopt.

        PBS had a short segment on the effective measures used in Taiwan. I included the link.

    12. Westside Neighbor says:

      LOVE to hear some guidance from the medical/ science side about how to be sure we are using cloth masks correctly, e.g.,

      -Do we wash a cloth mask after wearing outside for a few hours?
      -OR–how to be sure safe to re-wear…e.g, maybe have 2 and just hang up on a hook for a day…..
      – Not even sure what is the latest about how long the virus could be active on cloth surface?

      (I remember when the going advice was to NOT wear them if you feel healthy that one of the reasons given was that the virus could collect around the edges of the mask…..!)

      Some clarity here about re-use and cleaning would be soooo helpful!

    13. UWSEd says:

      Then, there’s the 3-cent mask. A pleated paper towel, with rubber bands threaded onto the ends, and the ends folded over and stapled. Don’t wash it. Throw it away and fashion yourself a new one. At $1.32/100 sheets (Bounty on Amazon, and yes, it’s in-stock), that’s less than 3 cents a mask!

    14. dot morgan says:

      Marvelous gift to the city – thank you

    15. Renate Bridenthal says:

      The masks are wonderful: light, breathable, even fashionable. Washable and so re-usable.

    16. Jan says:

      Too little too late

    17. Christina says:

      $20 is quite expensive for some people. Don’t take advantage of those who can not afford the mask. It doesn’t cost that much to manufacture the mask. Good intentions but with poor intent!!

      • Chris w says:

        People who are complaining about the cost should think about the rent the tailor has to pay and all the business they lost with no dry cleaning income coming in. I think it would take me forever to make a decent mask since I don’t sew so it seems fair. They are not the ineffectual federal govt so I personally don’t think they are under any obligation to be giving things away.

      • Christine E says:

        @ Christina. ? They have rent, electricity, labor, materials, other costs… and this likely is the shop’s only income at the moment. It’s very possible that $20 is their breakeven point. And no one is forcing you to buy their mask. It is an option. You can source elsewhere or DIY.

    18. Linda S says:

      So disturbed when I went out at 5:30 Saturday evening seeing so many without masks or face coverings walking around west side. What are they thinking? I came home after a short walk seeing people walking around as if this were normal times. I was comforted by hearing the cheers outside at 7:00 after I returned home

    19. John Keynes says:

      Covering face is the right thing to do now, cuz symptomless infection does exist. Epidemiology.amotx may still got stocks,I got some last week.