Covid-19, sounds like the title of a Hollywood blockbuster starring the Rock and usually these movies only affect the USA. Unfortunately, this is no movie and we all have a role to play in this very real blockbuster.
No one was prepared for this virus and its effects will transcend way past the 21-day lockdown. With over 700 000 confirmed cases worldwide, we as a nation need to come together in solidarity and do whatever we can to support our President’s brave decision.
Whether it’s to abide by the lockdown guidelines or following strict safety precautions as an essential service, we all have an obligation to ourselves, our families and each other. This virus doesn’t discriminate against race, gender or social status – we’re all at risk.
The biggest risk falls on the brave citizens deemed as essential services. These brave souls have been tasked with keeping this country ticking over and often with little to no protective wear. Now this is not because they don’t want to, or they feel like wearing a mask makes them look silly. No, there’s a massive supply shortage of protective wear worldwide – with many healthcare and medical professionals calling on the private sector to assist wherever possible.
If we’re in a position to help, we have a moral obligation to ourselves, our staff and the country to do whatever we can to make a bad situation better and help protect all these brave people fighting on the frontlines.
As a business, we have to evolve – especially during challenging times. We have people’s livelihoods in the balance and very importantly, the health of our citizens.
Expand a Sign has received permission to operate as an essential service and has begun manufacturing fabric face masks to help relieve the demand for protective wear in South Africa.
When news broke, we had 30 of our factory staff put their hands up, wanting to help make a difference by producing masks. Our entire management team also volunteered to learn how to sew.
Now these face masks will be made to order through our website and available to companies and other essential services that are required to or have permission to work during the lockdown.
But the need for face masks, will extend past the 21-day shutdown as we return to business as usual. We as a nation, have the responsibility to break the stigma around wearing face masks and make it socially acceptable. Research shows that countries in Asia like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea who already adopted wearing face mask as socially acceptable before the Covid-19 outbreak, have yielded effective results in reducing the spread of infection. Countires in Europe, like Slovenia and Czech Republic have also adopted this practice and have shown very positive results – see link below… https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/30/czechs-get-to-work-making-masks-after-government-decree-coronavirus )
It’s up to us as South Africans to #flattenthecurve and protect each other by protecting ourselves and exercising the act of Ubuntu. By wearing a face mask, you not only reduce your chances of infection but for those around you too.
These are challenging times but by remaining united and acting responsibly, we can hope to overcome this challenge together.