Updated: Jul 16
Like most small business owners, the end of 2019 involved months of product planning, defining the New Year's goals, pinpointing consumer trends, and gearing up to take 2020 by the balls.
As a micro-manufacturer, most of our end-of-year research involves following international trends in politics & pop culture, and getting keyed-in with the latest in reusable products. In November, Hong Kong's protester forums were suggesting Hongkongers preemptively start wearing their face masks...since there were unusual sightings of people openly sick in public. By December, Dr. Li Wenliang gave our World a warning regarding SARS-CoV-2.....the novel coronavirus that has since trekked our entire globe, and subsequently found a home here in Florida: now an epicenter for the deadly virus.
Cloth and paper face masks have been used for decades across cultures & communities outside of the United States. The reasons for wearing a face mask in public can be more than just maintaining public health. Some folks wear face masks on days when urban smog or the pollen count is high, to cover their skin during acne breakouts, to shield co-workers from your morning coffee breathe...and some just like having that extra bit of personal space people give you when you wear a mask.
With no market in the United States for reusable face masks, we started to preemptively manufacture face masks as one of our 2020 reusable products release. As was predicted in 2016, The United States is unprepared to protect its Peoples from a highly contagious viral Pandemic. When we started making masks in January, The Halfway Point began networking with grassroots Queer & Abolitionist groups to begin preparing support for the most marginalized populations of Florida's Big Bend.
By the end of March 2020, Governor DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order that has left over 1 million Floridians unsupported by social services, despite the taxes we all paid to provide in times like these. Prior to the SAH order, Our Network began sewing and distributing hundreds of washable face masks to homeless youth living in the Big Bend. We have since continued to distribute washable face masks individually across our community at need as neighbors & activists have requested. We began building urban food gardens with our business neighbors, and staying abreast of safety protocol and treatment updates from the Professional Medical Community.
For most businesses across the United States, this Pandemic has turned their entire world upside down. We've had to say goodbye to longtime neighbors, and supported others as they continue to adapt to a world defying Capitalism. At the mercy of coronavirus, many businesses are struggling to return to a world pre-Pandemic....regardless of whether or not their state has reopened.
Florida unfortunately, reopened far too early without a comprehensive plan in place, and our State is now the 4th highest rate of transmission behind any other nation. Our single State is responsible for an unnecessary loss in lives, businesses, and public well-being. Our hopes to be able to provide some semblance of our workshops & classes have been put on pause until at least 2021, it's looking like...
....and until then our goal as a business, and a member of Tallahassee's community, is to continue to support our neighbors as we can. Our storefront won't return to its regular business hours this year, but we will keep y'all updated on our Facebook page. Otherwise, we'll keep update y'all to our Pandemic adaptations here.
Wishing the best for you and yours.
- Sampson + The Halfway Point