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Greendale Seamstress Sewing Facemasks Full Time

The debate over the widespread public use of facemasks is coming to a head this week. Infected people without symptoms can spread the virus. This fact is at the center of new CDC recommendations calling on the White House to consider encouraging people to routinely wear face coverings in public.

By Andy Moore

April 2, 2020

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Greendale Seamstress Sewing Facemasks Full Time

While the political fabrication of masks takes shape, Yer Lor, owner of AJ Stitch and Alteration in Greendale, has taken matters into her own hands. Together with friends, her team members have turned their sewing machines, skills and materials into a facemask-for-free enterprise. As of mid-week, they’ve made over 300 masks. Some have already been special ordered by an Illinois elder care facility.

For doing such dire work, Yer Lor sounded cheerful and upbeat when she answered her phone Monday. “I’m fortunate that I can be at home and be with my kids,” she said. “But what about the father out there who works in health care and comes home to his kids?”

These are the kinds of people Yer Lor thinks of as she sits at her machine and sews her masks. Here’s what else Yer Lor had to say in our PBS Wisconsin interview.

PBS Wisconsin: Why are you fabricating masks? Why is that important?

Yer Lor: I decided to do fabric masks because my business is closed due to the COVID-19. As I am sitting at home during self quarantine, I wondered is there anything I can do to help? I figure since sewing is my expertise, I can help by sewing fabric masks and donate to the hospital that needs (them). It’s important for them to get protection.

PBS Wisconsin: What are your masks made of?

Yer Lor: I use 100% cotton fabric in both sides and a spandex fabric for the string that goes over the ear since there is a shortage on elastic. Although homemade cloth masks are not ideal, given the present shortages of N95 protective gear in the midst of the pandemic, I believe they may be the best option for many people. Before, I agreed that only doctors, nurses and sick people should wear masks but after observing this pandemic, I now believe that if we had enough supply of masks, everyone should be wearing them when they go out in public.

PBS Wisconsin: Who is helping you?

Yer Lor: I am very fortunate that I have lots of friends who reached out to me willing to help with their time or their fund. Magie Lor, Mao Moua, May Yer, Theresa Thao, Mayko Thoi, Na, Carl Listle, Lee Lor, Andrea Erdahl, Adam Mutcher and Mai Kawm Yaaj.

PBS Wisconsin: Any other thoughts on our current situation and hopes or fears you have?

Yer Lor: “To me, it seems unreal that the world’s wealthiest nation might need to resort to do-it-yourself face masks. We should all wear masks when we go in public such as going grocery shopping. I have no other income coming in during this time. I feel increasingly anxious and helpless because I don’t know what I will do with the store closed until further notice. However, I’m trying to stay positive and trying to keep myself busy like sewing these homemade face masks and donating to the hospitals in need.

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