Indiana company using downtime to make clips for face masks

A northern Indiana company is making plastic clips to protect medical workers’ ears from being irritated by the elastic straps on face masks protecting them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 13, 2020 8:37 AM

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana company is making plastic clips to protect medical workers’ ears from being irritated by the elastic straps on face masks protecting them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hometown Shirts and Graphix temporarily closed its door after Gov. Eric Holcomb issued stay-at-home orders that extend through at least April 20 to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

But the Delphi company’s owners, Tricia and Mark Mendel, have turned their downtime into an effort make plastic clips to hold face masks’ elastic straps at the back of the users' head, rather than around the ears, where long-term use can rub the backs of ears raw.

Since early April, Hometown Shirts and Graphix and their son Nick’s company, Ikonik Graphix, have laser-cut and donated more than 3,000 clips to medical staff at Indiana hospitals and others, including nursing homes and grocery stores.

She said Hometown Shirts and Graphix recently received enough material to make 20,000 more of the clips to protect user's ears from the straps, which hold each mask tight around their face.

“I am constantly thinking of those on the frontline and can’t imagine what they are going through every day,” Tricia Mendel told the Journal & Courier.

The clips are free for frontline workers.

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