30 June 2020, text: Leo Wehrli, photos: ZVG
Switzerland is slowly returning to normal. Nevertheless, protective measures remain an important part of day-to-day life. These include wearing a mask when you can’t socially distance. To that end, the Helvetia Olten General Agency decided to give its clients a useful gift: reusable non-medical masks. Currently, 65 sewing businesses across Switzerland are producing these in various designs under the name #mymask.
Heiniger AG Uerkheim and Wiedemeier AG in Strengelbach are just two of the local businesses that have received face masks from the Helvetia Olten General Agency. The masks were specially produced for the companies – emblazoned with their respective logos. ‘The companies were delighted and grateful for Helvetia’s commitment in this regard,’ says General Agent Daniel Wyss. To kick things off, deliveries were made to larger companies, which, given their high level of contact with customers, had a particular need for masks. However, the next step will involve providing masks from #mymask to smaller companies as well.
As a general rule, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health recommends that masks be worn if social distancing can’t be adhered to. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), has recently launched its own campaign under the slogan ‘On the way together again’, which also addresses the wearing of masks. No matter where you are in Switzerland, whether you’re in the supermarket, on public transport or at the hairdresser’s, masks have become part of everyday life.
The #mymask initiative aims to provide the Swiss population with sustainable, reusable face masks. It involves a host of small companies, sewing businesses and suppliers all working together to create ‘made in Switzerland’ masks. #mymask is a not-for-profit initiative. Helvetia has supported the initiative from the outset with financial assistance and staff.
Over 65 sewing businesses have already joined the initiative and are producing some 12,000 non-medical masks per week. Unlike traditional blue surgical masks, which are designed to be single-use, the #mymask masks can be used multiple times as long as they are cleaned properly after each use.