While some people in the United States are refusing to wear masks, people in Japan are lining up for them, especially at clothing retailer Uniqlo.
Lines for masks were common earlier this year during the initial novel coronavirus outbreak, with mask shortages causing people to wait in front of drugstores for the latest shipments.
Now, however, it has become easy to find disposable masks. So, why are people waiting for Uniqlo ones? These “Airism Comfort Conditioning Technology” masks are made with Uniqlo’s cooling, fast-drying fabric. The washable masks, which are three to a pack for under $10, have three layers to block bacteria as well as pollen. (The masks even block ultraviolet rays!) As the country continues to get hot and humid during summer, cool masks are a must.
Long lines formed in Tokyo, Osaka and elsewhere. In small locations, hundred of people waited for hours to buy the mask.
There was even restrained running!
With attempts at social distancing.
Though, not everyone could practice said social distancing.
And the inevitable sellouts.
According to Nikkei, the Uniqlo website crashed in Japan due to demand for the masks. Uniqlo, however, will be making 500,000 of these masks every week, so expect demand to normalize. Eventually.
Japan has had a culture of using masks dating back to at least the 1918 pandemic. In non-covid-19 times, people wear them when they are sick or suffering from seasonal allergies. That same mask culture might have stopped the novel coronavirus from spreading widely throughout the country.