Masks4Jax waits for better quality masks before distribution

30,000 cloth masks to be distributed to customers of Jacksonville-area restaurants

Masks4Jax: Local restaurants ready to give out face masks to customers
Masks4Jax: Local restaurants ready to give out face masks to customers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Participating restaurants in the Jacksonville area are waiting for a shipment of better quality face masks before they’ll be ready to go out with pickup and delivery orders as part of the Masks4Jax campaign.

News4Jax partnered with Dr. Saumil Oza, a cardiologist with Ascension St. Vincent’s, to spread the word about 30,000 masks that he is providing to participating local restaurants to give to customers who order takeout and delivery. Two cloth masks will be provided with each order, starting Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, the first set of donated masks were delivered to the drop-off point near Regency Square, but Oza said the first masks had a quality issue that weren’t durable enough to be given out.

Oza and the team Masks4Jax team are focusing on working with the manufacturer on the final, purchased masks. The team is working hard to ensure a durable and quality product!

Dr. Oza says this full batch of 30,000 masks are on track to be distributed to the list of all restaurants on Tuesday.

So far there are around 50 restaurants participating, including Bistro Aix.

“This is pretty much a heaven send. It is very difficult these days because, I guess, the demand is so high -- really can’t find too many. So this opportunity was perfect,” said Imad Din, managing partner at Bistro Aix, which remains open despite the downtown in businesses everywhere due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Din said signing on to the Masks4Jax campaign was a no-brainer.

“This opportunity was perfect in this case. You can pick something up to eat if you’re hungry, and you can pick up a couple of masks," Din said. “I’m also new to Jacksonville. I came last year from New York of all places. I have a lot of family and friends there. It’s been tough. It’s been tough. We’re doing all we can do try to keep ourselves healthy and help the community.”

Colin Edwards and Ian Haensly co-founded Burlock and Barrel Distillery. Along with their regular spirits, they’ve been making hand sanitizer. Now, they’re happy to include masks.

“I think it’s really important, especially for local businesses who can help the community by offering things like hand sanitizer and masks, to go ahead and get ahold of this. That way, we can all get back to normal as soon as possible," Haensly said.

Edwards added: “Just extremely grateful to be apart of the bigger picture, to help folks on the front line and those in the community to stay safe and healthy.”

These masks should not be used in place of any of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommendations to avoid contact with people as much as possible and keep your distance, but in addition to them. The masks should be used when you have to leave the house, like go to the grocery store or pharmacy. These are not the N95 masks and they do not count as personal protective equipment that is in short supply.

Here’s the initial list of locations that will be participating in Masks4Jax starting Tuesday:

The hope is that the number of restaurants participating will climb to 50 by next week. If you would like to sign up your restaurant to participate, you’re asked to fill out the form at masks4jax.com/contact.

People who receive the masks will also get a flyer explaining how to use and care for the masks. And on the Masks4Jax website, you can find information not only on the program but how to make your own maks.

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