These masks help make social distancing a little less scary.
Protective face coverings have been hard to come by online since panic buyers and some opportunistic resellers snapped up surgical face masks in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But now entertainment companies like Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS +1.68% and the AT&T-owned /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T -0.77% Warner Bros., sports leagues like the NBA and NFL, and fashion designers like Christian Siriano and Stacy Bendet, as well as brands like Old Navy and Forever 21, are pivoting to produce masks to help people follow the CDC’s updated guidelines to wear cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
And many of these brands are also embracing licensing opportunities by putting their signature characters and sports teams on their protective wraps.
The Walt Disney Co. is rolling out non-medical, reusable masks featuring “Star Wars,” Marvel, Disney and Pixar characters, which are now available for preorder online . The $19.99 four-packs come in small, medium and large sizes, and feature beloved figures like The Child, aka “Baby Yoda,” from its breakout Disney+ hit “The Mandalorian,” as well as icons Mickey and Minnie Mouse. There’s also Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” some “Avengers” superheroes like the Hulk, and Winnie the Pooh. They should ship in June.
“We realize this is a challenging time for families and wearing any type of mask can be daunting,” said Edward Park, senior vice president, Disney store and shopDisney, in a statement announcing the House of Mouse’s new face masks on Thursday . “Our hope is that Disney’s cloth face masks featuring some of our most beloved characters will provide comfort to the families, fans and communities that are so important to us.”
Disney is also giving one million cloth face masks to children and families in underserved communities across the U.S., and donating up to $1 million in profits from the U.S. sales of its cloth face masks to MedShare, which delivers medical supplies to communities in need, through Sept. 30. Indeed, many mask makers are donating all or part of their proceeds to COVID-19 relief efforts, as well, and/or handing out masks to first responders or to vulnerable communities.
Licensing company Trevco, which launched the new subscription-based face mask service MaskClub last month , has partnered with Warner Bros. and Sanrio /zigman2/quotes/208532259/composite SNROF -6.06% to produce masks that boast the Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman logos and cuddly Hello Kitty characters, as well as Hasbro /zigman2/quotes/201249319/composite HAS -0.28% properties like the Care Bears and My Little Pony. Single masks run $13.99 apiece, or a $9.99 monthly subscription mails out a mask a month. And for each mask purchased, MaskClub gives a mask to a first responder.
“These are confusing times. We want to help families make the situation a little better, and hopefully brighter, by featuring beloved brands that resonate with children and making the act of mask wearing less intimidating,” founder Trevor George wrote in a statement. “By outfitting the whole household, children will hopefully find the act of mask wearing less scary when seeing their parents wear it.”
The major sports leagues got into the masks game early on, after teaming up with the e-commerce provider Fanatics. The NBA and WNBA began selling masks featuring the logos of all 30 NBA and 12 WNBA teams on April 17. Single masks run $14.99, and three packs are $24.99, and they are expected to begin shipping on May 21. All proceeds from these masks sales will benefit Feeding America in the U.S. and Second Harvest in Canada.
The NFL is also selling masks sporting the logos of its 32 teams for $14.99 apiece or three-packs for $24.99, with proceeds benefiting the CDC Foundation. They’re expected to ship June 11. The NHL is hawking three-packs of masks representing its 31 teams for $24.99, with proceeds being handed over to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. And Major League Soccer is selling individual $14.99 masks representing its 26 teams, expected to ship May 8, with sales benefiting Feeding America and Food Banks Canada.
Many bands and musicians are also lending their logos and likenesses to protective face masks. The “We Got You Covered” collection from Vivendi’s /zigman2/quotes/204607342/composite VIVEF -1.92% Universal Music Group includes masks with Billie Eilish’s green man, the Rolling Stones’ iconic lick logo, Ariana Grande’s teardrop, Bob Marley’s likeness, and more. Net proceeds from the $15 masks benefit MusiCares, the charity which supports the music community in tough times, including the current pandemic.
While fashionable face masks may sound frivolous, facial coverings are poised to become essential gear as the pandemic continues to drag on, with a report released Thursday warning that the COVID-19 outbreak could last for up to two more years and infect 60% to 70% of the population. Airlines such as Southwest /zigman2/quotes/201071949/composite LUV +1.60% , American /zigman2/quotes/209207041/composite AAL +2.37% and Alaska Air /zigman2/quotes/200972303/composite ALK +1.28% now require passengers to wear masks on their flights. States like Georgia that are reopening already also have temperature checks and face masks as prerequisites for frequenting salons and other businesses again.