By Beatriz Neves
Arts & Culture Editor
Whether in the metro or the Eaton center, we need to cover our faces in all indoor public spaces throughout Quebec.
Since September 12th, the authorities promise to fine anyone who refuses to wear a mask. According to premier Legault, "we cannot accept that a few irresponsible individuals put at risk the entire population of Quebec." True, they can be annoying and fog your glasses up, but they’re still bearable.
The blue surgical masks are good for our heroes on the front line of this war. However, disposable masks are not eco-friendly, since they are not made out of recyclable material. Unfortunately, we still can’t be sure how long this pandemic will last, and the mass accumulation of these masks could contribute to our global environmental problems. In addition, used disposable masks hold potentially contaminated biological material. This biological material can present a danger to other people who come in direct contact with the used mask.
Without proper disposal, surgical masks can have a direct negative impact on us and the environment. Worse, disposable blue masks are not easy to match with anyone's wardrobe.
Seeing a new demand in the market, various companies jumped on the opportunity to invest in the production of reusable face masks. As a result, seven months after the beginning of quarantine, washable face masks flood the streets. There are different sizes, textiles, colours, patterns, designs, all in a wide price range. Face masks are the newest canvas.
Souvenir Avanti was one of these Quebec-based companies. When the pandemic hit, Souvenir Avanti created a division called Masqueteers that is dedicated to serving North Americans with affordable masks made by Canadians and American workers. One of the biggest concerns surrounding the pandemic was its effect on the economy, but companies such as Masqueteers helped preserve some jobs.
To match everyone’s style, Terri Ronci, a co-Masqueteer, told me that “[their] mission was to bring to market the colourful, happy, patterns that people could actually smile about.” It’s a difficult time for everyone and Masqueteers is determined to help out however they can.
The face protection can go beyond a textile square and some elastic strings. Jean Airoldi and Rosalie Taillefer-Simard proved that with their "masques sourire", an item that earned Legault’s approval. Their mask has a window panel that shows their lips while still properly protecting them.
We need to hold on to these moments of joy, the small details that provoke a smile. The face masks are far from ideal, but it is heartening to see them transformed into something fun that everyone can put a little of themselves into.