Hollywood has been in a state of lockdown ever since the coronavirus quarantine has been in effect. Industry professionals find themselves without work and struggling to make ends meet while cooped up inside their homes. Now, the film industry's costume design departments have stepped forward to offer their services to healthcare professionals across the country who find themselves in dire need of new masks and other protective clothing. In a letter to her members, MPEG national executive director Cathy Repola wrote.
"If any of you sew or want to volunteer to deliver the masks (without violating the social distancing guidelines), please let us know and we will put you in touch with those coordinating."
The announcement comes at a time when the US finds itself overwhelmed by a flood of new Coronavirus cases. The suddenness of the outbreak after weeks of seeing only scattered cases across the country has caught many hospitals unawares. There have been reported shortages of many kinds of essential items, including toilet paper, ventilators, masks and hand sanitizers.
The shortage of the latter three items has been of dire consequence for medical professionals at the frontlines of the virus outbreak. Nurses and doctors who have spoken to the media have talked about having to make their own disinfectant wipes using bleach, and keeping themselves separate from their family members at home in order to avoid spreading the disease to their children or spouses.
These dire straits require an all-hands-onboard approach from any and every citizen who can offer their skills to the medical community to help prevent the spread of the virus. And that is where the costume design industry comes in. The people who work on Hollywood film productions in the clothing department have vast experience working with different types of fabrics and creating clothing items that regular stores would have difficulty supplying.
Keeping their unique skills in mind, Repola further wrote that another way Guild members can volunteer during the crisis is by working with the Motion Picture and Television Fund residents.
"They are isolated in their rooms without any group activities or meals."
The new responsibility of making real-world medical masks instead of props for movie productions by the costume departments of Hollywood is one more indication of just how dramatically the Coronavirus has altered the landscape of the entertainment industry.
With people spending all their time in self-isolation at home, theaters are lying empty and unused. New films are getting released online mere weeks after their theatrical release. Upcoming releases are being pushed back indefinitely. Press junkets, film festivals, and award shows are a thing of the past.
And yet, the hardest hit have been the members of the lower rungs of the business, the lighting professionals, sound technicians, etc. who work project-to-project and rely on being able to work on one production after another all year round to make ends meet. The following days will doubtless see even more severe changes on the professional front, as the rules of the worldwide quarantine intensify in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. This news comes from TYhe Hollywood Reporter.