As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, many hospitals and healthcare workers are in desperate need of personal protective gear like masks, gloves, and gowns. Thankfully, nail salons and spas in the US are stepping up to provide this need by donating their supplies of gloves and masks to those who need them the most.
Tracy Ftacek, owner of Pretty Convenient Hair Extension Studio in Oswego, Illinois, closed her salon last week after all nonessential establishments after the state government ordered a shutdown. She had a stock of gloves she uses to apply color, and she donated them all to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
“I have many friends who work in the medical field and I knew supplies would be running low,” she told TODAY Style.
Stevie Smith, the owner of Smith & Davis salon in Chicago, organized a supply drive last week and is planning to hold another one soon. She collected 20 boxes of gloves, a few gallons of hand sanitizer, masks, and other disinfectants from her own salon and from donations.
“Our daughter is a nurse at a hospital here, so we gave her a few of the unopened gloves and gave the rest to our local fire station,” Smith said.
In Mobile, Alabama, a pharmacist named Hien Pham started a supply drive for Providence Hospital.
“The other day I was on my Facebook and saw a story of a salon owner, who, because of coronavirus, closed his salon and donated all his unused masks and gloves to local hospitals. It touched my heart,” Pham said.
“I thought, ‘How about I reach out to my friends who own nail salons? Many salons are owned by Vietnamese people. I posted on Facebook asking for donations and so many people offered to help.”
Her initiative became a massive success. On Sunday, the hospital received 13,000 pairs of gloves and 6,500 masks. Pham shared photos of the donations being given to health workers.
“It’s so important for people who work on the front lines to have proper equipment to protect themselves during the coronavirus,” she said.
In Seattle, one of the hardest-hit cities, a medical spa named SkinSpirit gave away 800 masks, including 160 N95 masks, which hospitals urgently need. The establishment also donated 10,000 gloves, disinfectant spray, and wipes to the University of Washington Medical Center.
Jamie Lamoreaux, the director of clinic operations at the spa, spoke to TODAY.
“SkinSpirit has strong roots in the Seattle area. With three clinics in the region and many nurses on staff that hail from the local medical community, we have been watching the situation here very closely and knew we had to help as much as possible,” she said.
She said that two of the spa’s nurse practitioners are now working at the University of Washington Medical Center. Seeing the need first-hand in the hospital, they helped arrange the donation.
Aside from nails salons and spas stepping up to help, other businesses in the fashion and beauty industry are doing their part. Christian Siriano and his team of seamstresses volunteered to manufacture masks for health care workers in New York. LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton, used their perfume making facilities to produce hand sanitizer. The Gap, Zara, Hanes, and other fashion brands are now making gowns and masks.
Faced with disaster, it is reassuring to see the community coming together to beat this horrible virus. If we see an opportunity to help, let’s do it. We are all in this battle together!