JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Masks4Jax campaign that is providing masks to Jacksonville-area restaurants to hand out to customers with takeout meals is underway again.
News4Jax partnered with Dr. Saumil Oza, a cardiologist with Ascension St. Vincent’s, to spread the word about masks that he is providing to participating local restaurants.
The first set of donated masks were delivered to the drop-off point near Regency Square last week, but Oza said the first masks had a quality issue and weren’t durable enough to be given out.
“We’ve had some hiccups in our logistics in getting the masks. All the businesses have been very patient and receptive," Oza said. “They understand that we’re trying to not only hand out masks but hand out masks that work properly and function the way they need to as a barrier to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Thousands more masks were ordered and Oza distributed the first round Monday at Carelumina on Monument Road. The two-ply cotton black masks were provided to the restaurants free of charge.
He told News4Jax about 18,000 masks had arrived so far, and he’s expecting another 250,000 masks in the next week. About 30,000 masks will be distributed to restaurants, and another 350,000 will be distributed through public programs like Meals on Wheels and homeless shelters, through a partnership with the city of Jacksonville.
Each restaurant location received an initial distribution of about 100 masks on Monday.
“There definitely has been more demand than we had even expected. But I think these are all good things because we want to be able to distribute these masks as quickly as possible all over Jacksonville," Oza said. "The more places we can find that can distribute these masks, and the more masks we can distribute through those places, I think the better off all of Jacksonville will be, and the better off we will be fighting off this terrible virus.”
For a full list of participating restaurants, click here.
These masks should not replace any of the recommendations for social distancing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but should be used in addition to those guidelines. The masks should be used when you have to leave the house, like go to the grocery store or pharmacy. These are not N95 masks and they do not count as personal protective equipment that is in short supply.
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.