Corona Stompers hand out free face masks

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The Corona Stompers are working on providing members of the public with homemade face masks to prevent the spread of infection.

On Wednesday, the team handed out more than 50 homemade masks at Morning Glory Farm to folks who drove up in their cars. 

On Thursday, the Corona Stompers will be handing out masks at Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs starting at 11 am. 

It comes as Tisbury has instituted a requirement that anyone entering a supermarket or grocery store be wearing a mask. Other Island towns are expected to follow suit. The Centers for Disease Control has also issued guidance that every American should be wearing a mask when they go out in public in addition to social distancing.

The Corona Stompers team is looking to collect and create as many masks as possible, with their primary goal being to provide them to grocery store workers, Vineyard Transit Authority Drivers, and others who are not medical personnel but are still at a high risk of infection.

“It was a great day at Morning Glory because it was like a soft opening for our effort,” Upton said. “We are really trying to get the word out there, that these masks are available to anyone who might want one.”

The team also left a bag of masks for people who might drive to the farm to pick up fresh eggs or other products. Once Morning Glory opens to the public, Upton said she will be working to provide masks to employees as well.

Upton said the masks they are handing out are “very temporary” and she hopes people will look into finding other masks that are made for longer-term use.

Upton also gave Elio Silva at Vineyard Grocer a number of masks that he offered to hand out himself to his customers.

“The community fills me with such gratitude,” Upton said. “I believe we are really seeing Martha’s Vineyard at its best.”

Upton said she is offering the same service to Steve Bernier at Cronig’s Market, and is waiting to hear from him.

The network of seamstresses that the Corona Stompers team has organized is starting to grow, according to Upton.

“Some people are retired and are just sewing and donating. If they run out of materials, we will put together a package of the materials they need,” Upton said. “Some people have lost their job and are just sewing nonstop for us. I can Venmo our seamstresses for whatever they need to keep on going.”

Upton noted that the masks are not to protect people from contracting diseases, but to prevent the spread of disease in the population.

“I wear a mask to protect you, you wear a mask to protect me,” Upton said.

The team is still working on collecting over 500 masks to give to grocery stores and other high-traffic workplaces.

“We have around 100 we want to hand out at Reliable, and we will also leave them with their own package of masks,” Upton said.