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Surge in face masks demand before new covering rules in VIC apply

Over 1.37 million reusable fabric masks orders will be delivered across July and August from five Victorian manufacturers following the state government’s announcement that people living in Melbourne will now be required to wear a face covering from Thursday 23rd July.

The Victorian Government has placed orders for 1.37 million reusable fabric masks from five Victorian manufacturers including Nobody Denim, StylePrint, NMBQ, The Ark and The Mask Project.

23 million single use masks have also been ordered and will be distributed while the reusable masks are made. Around 500,000 have already been provided to DHHS for public housing tower tenants and 1,200,000 single use masks to the Department of Education and Training for use in schools.

On July 10, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews recommended Melburnians wear face masks in public, leading to an initial surge in demand.

“To give people time to purchase or make a face covering, this new rule won’t be enforced until after 11.59pm on Wednesday 22 July – but for those who can, please start wearing yours immediately. The fine for not wearing a face covering will be $200,” Daniel Andrews stated on July 20.

Leading Australian brands have also extended product offerings to accommodate the demand for face coverings including fashion retailers such as Cotton On.

According to the brand, its masks are tested to a KN90 standard which means they filter out at least 90 percent of airborne particles, including those of the coronavirus variety.

However restrictions have been on put on face coverings due to the continued increase in sales. Bunnings has restricted masks to 50 a customer, Woolworths is only allowing one pack per person and Aldi has a two-pack limit.

“Customers will be able to purchase a maximum of two packs per person, to ensure a fair distribution of product,” an Aldi spokeswoman said.

MedCon, an Australian PPE producer based in Shepparton Victoria, utilize Star Track Express to ensure freight delivery is on time for customer orders.

However, Med-Con CEO Steve Csiszar told Business Insider Australia the company was “frustrated” following the Victorian government’s announcement that face masks would be mandatory.

“We’re full at the moment with our production – we’re working 24/7 – and we just physically can’t make any more masks,” he told Business Insider Australia.

Med-Con is contracted to supply the federal government’s national medical stockpile with 59 million masks.

“A lot of these masks now that they’re recommending for people to use will be either imported masks or stuff that they make at home, or maybe the reusable type… but quite frankly, I wish we could supply them because we obviously make the surgical mask, which is the best mask to use.”

Mount Waverley-based mask manufacturer FloatPac, received 1500 orders on July 20.

“Due to overwhelming demand, please be aware that there is currently a delay of up to 14 days in order shipments. We are working around the clock to fulfil orders as quickly as possible,” the company stated on its website.

“We are working 24/7 to meet order demands and will be dispatching every order as soon as we physically can.”

FloatPac ships all masks Australia wide with free freight, and manufacture all of our masks at our Melbourne manufacturing facility.

Australian Safety Wholesalers sold 100,000 masks last week, and another 100,000 since the Premier’s Sunday announcement.

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