NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans City Council has partnered with the Mayor's Office and the City's Department of Health to launch a centralized website for resources and donations for cloth face coverings called "SewDat." The website provides a location where citizens, non-profits and businesses can donate cloth face coverings to non-medical, essential employees at grocery stores, restaurants, bus and taxi drivers, volunteers staffing food pantries, and meal distribution centers. In addition, the website will offer a place for residents to purchase cloth face coverings, limiting competition for N95 and surgical masks, which are in high demand and short supply for healthcare professionals and other first responders in Louisiana.
The website will also provide instructions to residents interested in sewing or creating a mask with supplies at home. SewDat.com has a list of local businesses and individuals selling face coverings to the general public. If you or your organization would like to be added to the business directory, visit sewdat.com/add-provider.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the public wear face coverings when they leave their homes to reduce the spread of COVID-19. There is currently no mandate for Louisiana residents to wear coverings in public, but it is highly recommended by healthcare professionals.
"The Council has sponsored the SewDat site in both the interest of public health and economic development. It offers information on how to make your own cloth face covering, but also provides the opportunity for local sewing businesses to connect with those in need of face masks as recommended by the CDC, whether it's an individual buying for themselves or larger organizations providing for their employees. But most importantly, we want to ensure those who are still having to work during the health crisis have the protection they need at no cost to them. It's the least we can do for those putting their lives on the line to ensure they have the services and items they need to assist the public," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer.
"I want to thank the City Council for their partnership in helping the Mayor's Office and the New Orleans Health Department develop innovative ways to help residents take a 'DIY' approach to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is a perfect example of elected officials working together from every angle to get us through an emergency together," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
"We need to follow the CDC's guidance telling our residents to wear face coverings when they must go out for essential activities, and protect our critical workforce who keep us going through this crisis. Every effort, small and large, makes a difference in getting us closer to flattening the curve and saving lives," said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director, New Orleans Health Department.
"Throughout this crisis and others, New Orleanians have proven we are at our best when we work together," said District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso. "SewDat provides an excellent resource for anyone interested in helping keep us all healthier and safer."
"We are all in this together, and together we will all get through this. Everyone has to use whatever talents we have to make this easier for all of us. Thank you to all who are helping sew and distribute these much-needed masks and to all who will wear the masks in keeping us all safe," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks.
"With Orleans Parish currently leading the nation in deaths per capita, it is imperative that we do everything within our power to flatten the curve and fight further spread of this virus," said District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett. "I am proud to join my colleagues in launching this initiative, which will provide critical supplies to those businesses, organizations, and residents working around the clock to continue to provide us with day-to-day necessities and services."
"I encourage everyone to wear a protective face mask when in public to reduce the spread of COVID-19; they are as washing your hands and social distancing. Due to the low supply of face masks, the Do It Yourself, DIY, masks are being crafted to meet the demand. The SewDat website is an excellent resource for residents who would like to learn how to make, purchase or donate cloth face masks. Wearing a facial mask is a voluntary public health measure, so use the website and do your part to assist in reducing the spread of the virus," said District "E" Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen.
To donate cloth face coverings to non-medical essential workers, go to www.sewdat.com.