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People in the community who heard about her mask-making endeavour have donated materials and supplies.
“I started to really appreciate doing it,” said Vandermeer. “It takes my mind off the things I cannot do and I’ve enjoyed it.”
She isn’t the only Calgarian who found a pastime in mask-making this year, as the Facebook group Mask Makers YYC gained more than 6,000 members who sewed more than 47,000 masks and 3,300 scrub caps in the first several months of the pandemic.
These masks, and many more, helped fill the immediate and overwhelming demand for face coverings when Canada’s public health authorities began recommending their use to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Though, as mask-making became commercialized with many businesses adding them to their shelves, homemade production has slowed.
Calgary’s mask bylaw was introduced in July, making masks mandatory in all indoor settings. Masks have also been mandatory for students attending school from grades 4 to 12 since the start of classes.
Alberta was the last Canadian province to implement a universal mask mandate on Dec. 8, when the government introduced an assortment of stricter public health measures.
Masks have become a daily reality for Albertans since the government requires face coverings to be worn in indoor spaces and workplaces across the province.
Vandermeer wants to make sure people aren’t without masks so there’s less community transmission and everyone can comply with the mandates.