Nail salon in Oakland's Montclair neighborhood transforms into mask-making factory amid pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A nail salon closed under the novel coronavirus shelter-in-place order has turned itself into a hub of mask making. Thousands of them are now being donated to medical workers on the front lines.
It's an amazing transformation for Isabella Nail Bar in Montclair that has closed for manicures and pedicures but is now abuzz with mask making.

Owner Uyen Nguyen said the transformation made sense because "a lot of our staff, most of them back home, they worked for factories that make clothing."

She teamed up with a friend, Shelly Wong, and came up with the idea.

Wong said, "We started this in the middle of March. Our original goal was 10 women sewing 100 masks."

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The duo established a nonprofit called "It Takes A Village". Donated fabric from Berkeley clothing store Bryn Walker, along with mobilizing 150 volunteers, has created this miraculous little empire.

They've already donated 9,600 masks to hospitals in San Francisco and Alameda County. Right now they are making 22,000 more masks along with creating 7,000 face shields.

Coca-Cola donated a 3.500 pound roll of the plastic that is being laser cut at a shop in Oakland. The shields are being assembled at the nail salon, where others iron the masks destined for front line healthcare workers.

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There is also money being raised on a Go Fund Me page that is helping to buy thousands of KN95 masks and N95s.

"I know we are at war and when war time happens it is the community pulling together that gets it through," Nguyen added.

If you'd like to make a donation to help their cause, go to isabellanailbar.com.

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