City orders 500 masks to ease enforcement of health order
This week the city of Sebastopol will start offering free, locally made masks bearing the logo of the city of Sebastopol to those who are caught in public without a mask — and to anyone in town who needs a mask but cannot afford one.
On Friday, April 17, Sebastopol Mayor Patrick Slayter ordered 500 masks from a Windsor-based company that used to make motorcycle wear but has turned its production line over to making cloth masks. The masks, which cost the city $8 a piece, are 100% cotton and washable.
The total cost of the city’s mask purchase is $4,000. The money came from a $2,000 grant from Gravenstein Health Action plus three city sources: Mayor Patrick Slayter and Vice Mayor Una Glass put their $500 discretionary funds toward the purchase, and city clerk Mary Gourley used $1,000 from her office’s discretionary fund.
The Sebastomask program comes on the heels of the health order issued by the Sonoma County health officer requiring that everyone wear facial coverings to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The mask order, which was announced last week and went into effect on Friday, April 17, caught many people by surprise—and without the required face coverings.
The Sebastomask program wasn’t meant to provide everyone in Sebastopol with a mask, however. That would have required 5,000 masks, not just 500.
Rather, Glass said, the idea was to give local law enforcement a tool to enforce the mask order in a “friendly” way.
“We’re going to give these masks to our police department so they can take them to our grocery stores and all the critical services that are still open, so that if somebody shows up in a grocery store and they don’t have a mask on, then the manager can say, ‘Sir, I see you don’t have a mask on. Here, have a free Sebastomask,’ thus avoiding a confrontational, ugly situation,” Glass said.
“We’re also going to give them to bus drivers, so that if someone gets on a bus without a mask, the bus drivers will have some to hand out,” Glass said.
This gentle approach to enforcement is in line with a comment made by Slayter in one of his regular online city updates.
Addressing the question of mask enforcement, he said, “We need to do this the Sebastopol way. We need to be kind and considerate and patient with folks. We’re looking at this from an educational standpoint rather than a hard-nosed enforcement standpoint.”
Still need a mask?
One Sebastopol resident remarked on Nextdoor that masks have now joined toilet paper on the quarantine’s Most Wanted list, but there are actually quite a few local sources of masks.
Linda Tronson at Sebastopol Hardware said they’re selling disposable surgical masks, five masks per package, for $4.99. There’s a limit of one package per person, she said. Customers can order online at acehardware.com, email orders to firstname.lastname@example.org for curbside pick-up or they can come into the store.
Ingrid Zurlo, the owner of WhipperSnappers, a children’s consignment store in north Sebastopol, is making 100% cotton masks for adults and children.
Zurlo learned to sew from her mother, who was a seamstress.
“I didn’t realize this secret skill of mine was ever going to be needed,” she said.
Like many small business owners in west county, Zurlo had to close her store when the shelter-in-place order came down, and she recently pivoted to producing protective masks for the epidemic.
You can see examples of her masks on her Facebook (search on WhipperSnappersKid) and can arrange to purchase them at 707-230-3625 or email@example.com.
See a link to instructions for making a mask at home in the sidebar.