Should Safety Have a Price?

Should Safety Have a Price?

by Iandra Estupinian–Today’s bittersweet truth is that cases of COVID-19 are increasing and state lockdowns are extending their restrictions for another month at least.

Citizens are asked to stay indoors unless they must go out for “essentials” or if they are an “essential worker.” If citizens must go outside, they are being asked, or required, to wear a mask and gloves.

The new normal

The demand for citizens to wear masks does not seems like a huge deal when it comes to safety. But then there is a realization that some citizens cannot wear a mask because there are no masks. Anywhere.

For the past month, manufactured masks have either been out of stock, or prices have gone up in pricing on platforms such as Amazon or eBay. Masks, such as n95 masks, are being solely restricted for hospital uses and the CDC has encouraged citizens to start making their own masks.

Some companies and small businesses have taken the opportunity to make profits on homemade cloth masks, selling their products from various price ranges such as $10 to more than $40 online. 

The pricing is understandable because of the process to get the materials to make the masks, but some citizens believe masks should be more affordable and have no additional shipping cost since this is a crisis we’re living in.

“I personally think that both companies and businesses should make their masks more affordable, “ said Morningside nursing student and junior, Gladys Mayo. “Especially small businesses for their local communities.”

Masks are becoming a part of our daily lives and companies and businesses should be aware that price gouging (when a product is overpriced and considered unfair) is not a practice that should be put into effect right now.

“I don’t think masks technically have to be free because these businesses also have to make a profit in this tough situation, but they shouldn’t be taking advantage of the situation either,” says freshmen Valerie Espinoza.

Even though both companies and businesses are selling masks for profit, some organizations have also used this trend to raise funds for families in need and to help support front-line workers. Examples such as New Republic, The Ellen Degeneres store, Vida, and Caraa have used their mask profits to give funds to food banks, hospitals, and to make masks for nurses.

As long as COVID-19 cases rise, the need for masks and safety gear rises with it. It is the decision of these businesses and companies on how they want to use these profits – to either help out their local communities or to keep their own business afloat.

Leave your own thoughts in the comment section on what you think about profiting off masks during this pandemic.

April 30, 2020

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Should Safety Have a Price?”

  1. Breakdown of the cost of a mask made by a home seamstress:
    Elastic $47.99 – 100 yards $.48 each
    Quilters cotton $13.50 yard (or more) 6 masks per yard $2.25 each
    1 hour to make at minimum wage Iowa $7.25 California $12
    Minimum cost per mask:
    $9.98 Iowa
    $14.73 California
    This does not include the cost for the thread, wear and tear on the sewing machine (assuming you already have one), taxes they had to pay for the material, and any shipping they had to pay to get the material. mail flat rate envelope if you want it shipped to you.

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