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Nail salons and spas around the country are donating masks, gloves to hospitals

TODAY logo TODAY 3/25/2020 Alyssa Newcomb
a man holding a sign © Hien My Pham

Salons and spas around the country are donating gloves and masks to local hospitals, which are in desperate need of personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Tracy Ftacek, owner of Pretty Convenient Hair Extension Studio in Oswego, Illinois, closed her salon last week after all nonessential businesses in the state were ordered to shut their doors. She gave the stock of gloves she uses to apply color to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"I have many friends who work in the medical and I knew supplies would be running low," Ftacek told TODAY Style.

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Stevie Smith, owner of Smith & Davis salon in Chicago, hosted a supply drive last week and said she plans to hold another soon. Between her salon and other donations, Smith collected 20 boxes of gloves, a couple gallons of hand sanitizer, masks and various other disinfectants.

"Our daughter is a nurse at a hospital here, so we gave her a few of the unopened gloves and gave the rest to our local fire station," she said.

a group of people standing in front of a building: A healthcare worker in Mobile, Alabama, carries boxes of gloves and masks that were donated by local nail salons. (Hien My Pham) © Hien My Pham A healthcare worker in Mobile, Alabama, carries boxes of gloves and masks that were donated by local nail salons. (Hien My Pham)

Hien Pham, a pharmacist in Mobile, Alabama, helped organize a supply drive benefiting Providence Hospital.

"The other day I was on my Facebook and saw a story of a salon owner, who, because of coronavirus, closed his salon and donated all his unused masks and gloves to local hospitals. It touched my heart," she said. "I thought, 'How about I reach out to my friends who own nail salons? Many salons are owned by Vietnamese people. I posted on Facebook asking for donations and so many people offered to help."

On Sunday, 13,000 pairs of gloves and 6,500 masks were dropped off at the hospital. Pham shared photos of the donations being given to medical workers.

"It's so important for people who work on the frontlines to have proper equipment to protect themselves during the coronavirus," Pham said.

a car parked in a parking lot: Providence Hospital received a donation of 13,000 gloves and 6,500 masks. (Hien My Pham) © Hien My Pham Providence Hospital received a donation of 13,000 gloves and 6,500 masks. (Hien My Pham)

In Seattle, one of the hotspots for coronavirus cases, medical spa chain SkinSpirit donated 800 masks, including 160 N95 masks, which are in short supply at hospitals. They also donated 10,000 gloves, disinfectant spray and wipes to the University of Washington Medical Center.

"SkinSpirit has strong roots in the Seattle area. With three clinics in the region and many nurses on staff that hail from the local medical community, we have been watching the situation here very closely and knew we had to help as much as possible," Jamie Lamoreaux, SkinSpirit's director of clinic operations, told TODAY.

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She added that two of the spa's nurse practitioners are now working at University of Washington Medical Center and helped coordinate the donation.

"They saw the need first-hand in the hospital for these supplies and we were so happy we could gather these items and support them with a donation," she said.

Other businesses in the fashion and beauty industry are also stepping up to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The Gap, Hanes, Zara and other fashion brands are now making masks and gowns. Meanwhile, Dior and Givenchy perfume factories are producing hand sanitizer.

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