Illustration for article titled This Genius Designer Is Selling Masks With a Straw-Sized Mouth Hole, Because Drinking With Friends Is Way More Important Than Safety
Photo: Ellen Macomber (ellenmacomber.com)

Some people are having a terrible time trying to live their normal life with this pesky COVID-19 getting in the way. The illness that has infected millions and claimed the lives of more than 292,500 around the world really has been getting in the way of plans, like seeing friends for that ever-so-important midday Frappuccino or Happy Hour cocktail. Ugh!

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But fear not–those who say “poo-poo” to these *sooooo so stupid* social distancing precautions are in luck! Ellen Macomber has designed a face mask with a straw-sized hole right in the mouth area, in order for those who just can’t resist a drink outside with friends to imbibe in some libations.

Social distancing? I don’t know her! It’s a thing of the past now!

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The fine art and textiles designer, who described herself as “an alcoholic from New Orleans” (because alcoholism is something to joke about) told Fast Company that since COVID-19 took over, her online business has experienced a dip in sales. In order to make a profit, she had to think outside of safety regulations the box. This particular mask goes for $30 and comes with super cute prints like sequins, flowers and snakeskin.

She also makes caftans that match, because who knows? Maybe those who buy these masks will board a plane or catamaran to sip on a beach somewhere! The world is now their oyster!

“We’re all in New Orleans, and here in New Orleans, we like to drink,” she said. “We were thinking of doing a lip appliqué, where [the mask] would flap open and close, but you’d have to touch your face. I was like, ‘Well that won’t work because you have to touch your mask. That’s when I was like, ‘Dude, we just drill a little flap, an extra layer, and you angle the straw to get in. So the hole is never completely open.’”

Considering potentially infected COVID-19 droplets can get into your mouth (pdf) and give you the virus, a small, straw-sized hole could never allow that to happen. And that thing about throwing out masks that don’t protect your eyes and mouths any longer due to tears and holes? Totally doesn’t apply, because you’re having a drink! This mask serves a purpose. What an innovative, super-safe, effective way to dance around these silly CDC rules.

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Macomber believes that the mask is just what the doctor ordered (Pun? Intended? ‘Not I,’ said the cat!), and hopes that those who are in public more often than not will find this incredibly useful.

“Anything is better than nothing,” she continues. “If we’re going to be handling different errands … this is just one option for one of the variety of errands you’re needing to. This is the biggest shitshow I’ve ever encountered in my life, so I’m just rolling with the punches, and trying to provide my clients with what they’re asking for: a mask. This is my take on it.”

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Music and culture journalist. Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

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