A recently immigrated Hay River family is giving back to the town by distributing face masks to residents, following advice for people to wear coverings while in public.
The NWT’s chief public health officer updated her advice on Tuesday, recommending that residents wear a cloth covering over their mouth and nose if heading to public places.
In a Facebook post, Hannah’s Nail – a nail salon opened by a family who moved to the town 18 months ago – said it would hand out its supply of face masks to residents, delivering them to local doorsteps.
The masks are disposable, not cloth, and are designed for a single use.
“As one of the residents of Hay River, we would like to help everyone to get through this hard time by donating some of our working equipment,” the business stated. “These are three-ply surgical face masks, which are very effective in reducing the spread of droplets coming out of your body (the main way Covid-19 is spread).”
Nam Truong, son of salon owner Ha Duong, said his family moved to the town after his mother made a visit and fell in love with the “small and peaceful” place. Truong said he had been studying at high school for two years prior to his family’s move from Vietnam to Hay River.
“My mom wanted my family to immigrate to Canada and the person helping her do that told her about Hay River,” he said. “[My family] is from Ho Chi Minh City. The city had nine or 10 million people and it was a bit too much for my mom.
“My mom came for a visit and just fell in love. She thinks it’s a small, peaceful town.”
Truong said his family had returned briefly to Vietnam three months ago, just before the coronavirus began to spread from country to country.
“We were there for something called the Lunar New Year and we were there for about a month,” he said. “We got back two months ago from today.”
He says being in Vietnam gave a good sense of how important face masks can be in keeping down the spread of Covid-19.
“We just travelled back from Vietnam, it was one of the first countries to get the coronavirus, so we can see the importance of face masks to people,” said Truong. “I think it’s really necessary to give out face masks.”
The family didn’t have a lot of masks, he added. What they did have not only went to the community but the hospital as well.
“We thought we wouldn’t be needing them any time soon and might as well give them to everyone, because I think they will be needing it to go outside,” he said.
“The community has been supporting us since day one and we just think this is a really good time to give back to them. [Hay River has] always been that way, which is good.”