Some people and businesses are barely keeping up with the demand for non-medical masks after a recent surge.

One Edmonton woman who makes cloth masks said she has had an increase in inquires over the last 24 hours.

“I had maybe 10, 20 people asking about the masks, if I had any available,” said Beth Knight.

While that number may seem small Knight said she has sold upwards of 500 masks to customers around the country.

“It feels good to be able to help the community,” said Knight.

Governments around the world, including Canada’s, now agree that these masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if used properly.

Officials said the masks can be effective at protecting other people from the wearer.

“If you choose to wear a non-medical mask it should be well-fitted and not gape at the sides,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Also be aware that masks can become contaminated on the outside.”

Canadian health officials say the following steps must be taken for non-disposable masks to be effective:

  • Wash hands before putting on masks
  • Wash hands before and after taking masks off
  • Wash masks regularly

Knight said her goal is to help people stay healthy and to keep N95 masks on frontline workers.

Another Edmontonian, 11-year-old Kayla Mak actually began making fabric masks several weeks ago.

“We hear Asia is using them, everyone is using them, why are we any different?” said Catherine Mak, Kayla’s mom.

Knight and Mak aren’t alone, businesses like Page the Cleaner and Derk’s Formals have started producing non-medical masks.

Page the Cleaner said it is even hiring temporary staff due to the influx of orders.

“We have more demand than we can handle and we’re actually looking for people to contract to sew out of their homes and be paid on per piece work,” said General Manager Bruce Hogle.

While masks can help when in public the best way to prevent getting sick is to stay home and physical distance according to officials.