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COVID-19 response: Shawnee nail salon makes masks for community

Elisabeth Slay

In the midst of COVID-19, people all over the world are making masks for their communities, including Lifestyle Nails and Day Spa located in Shawnee.

According to owner Phillip Nguyen, for the last five days he and members of his staff have worked together to make masks for people to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"The first day we made about 85 masks, the second day we made 40 and the third day we made 122. We will continue to make more until we fulfill each order," Nguyen said.

The business owner said he decided to start making masks after it was recommended by the CDC for people to wear them in public places.

"What inspired me the most is when I was watching the news and the government officials recommended that to help slow down COVID-19 we all should wear masks in public," Nguyen said. "So I decided to find materials and sewing machines and gather my team to help create the masks and distribute them to individuals who can’t find or afford the masks in the community."

Nguyen said he found someone to teach him and his team how to make the masks and then they developed their own process.

"We cut the fabric into appropriate sizes for each mask, we used cure pipes for the noses and used an elastic band for the ears. We work as an assembly line (and it's) the most efficient and quickest way to make the masks," Nguyen said.

At first, Lifestyle Nails was fulfilling as many orders as possible and the team became overwhelmed but they have adapted.

"For the first three days, we tried to fulfill every single order regardless of the amount of masks they wanted. But today, we are trying to fulfill each family and individuals with at most two masks due to the limited supply and support we have," Nguyen said. "Besides that, we have been receiving great feedback from our community."

Nguyen said while it's been a little difficult getting all the masks made, he feels it's important for local businesses to help their communities in any way that they can.

"We would like to give the love and support we have received back to the community," Nguyen said.

The business owner said as the future progresses, he hopes life will return to normal and that family and friends can reunite.

"I hope we can overcome this pandemic and we can go back to our everyday lives. Mainly, we will be able to see all of our family and friends," Nguyen said.

Nguyen said for more information people can visit the Lifestyle Nails and Day Spa Facebook page and their website at

"I would like to thank everyone in the community for all the support we have received through these hard times," Nguyen said. "All we can do is spread the love and do anything we can to help out and to keep everyone safe."

Does a face mask really help me? … No, but yes.

Does a face mask really help me? … No, but yes.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, face masks are more about containing the germs of the wearer, not protecting the wearer from others' germs.

The OSDH reports a face mask cannot prevent its wearer from catching COVID-19, but that wearer can help reduce the spread by using one.

“Common surgical face masks are not designed to block viral particles — the little droplets that are expelled into the air when you cough or sneeze while sick,” the website reads. “These types of masks do not create a seal around your nose and mouth and therefore are not an effective method for keeping germs out.”

They are, however, an effective way to reduce the spread of viral particles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surgical face masks can help prevent further spread of viral particles for those who are feeling unwell.

“This guidance focuses on the 25 percent of Americans who may be positive for COVID-19, but are not exhibiting any symptoms,” the website, at, reads. “When people must go into public settings, such as grocery stores, a face mask can reduce the respiratory particles released in the air.”

The CDC reports from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

This means the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms, the CDC site states.

This is why social distancing is being pushed so heavily.

In light of this new evidence, the CDC is recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Check it out

For CDC recommendations on face coverings, as well as a video of the U.S. Surgeon General making a cloth face cover, visit

Information compiled from Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).