Bonn The situation regarding the now sought-after face and respiratory masks seems to be relaxing in Bonn. These are available in chemists and medical supply stores, but also in tailors’ shops.
The search for face and respiratory masks in Bonn over the past few days has resembled the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. The masks have been sold out in the DIY stores for a long time, and none have been available in chemists either. The situation seems to be relaxing, as the coveted goods are back in stock in many places. For example, in tailors’ shops and health care supply stores.
“We sell different versions of washable face masks”, explains Karin Lancier from the Büchner medical supplies store on Bonngasse. Like many other speciality shops, the medical supply shop currently has no access to the particularly effective masks of protection categories FFP2 and FFP3. The simplest face mask costs 11.90 euros each at the shop, but a washable face mask with an insert for a filter is more expensive. Normally you can insert special fleece, which corresponds to one of the protection classes. Since these are currently hardly in stock, you can use a standard coffee filter, which “also has a very good filter effect”, explains Lancier.
The washable face mask can be ironed or put in the oven for half an hour so that it can be reused. Face masks are tested for their protective properties according to Din EN 149 and are divided into three classes. FFP stands for Filtering Face Piece and FFP3 is the highest class that provides the best protection. Many protective masks are offered on the Internet, but these are usually very expensive or have delivery times of weeks; furthermore, they are often so-called “no-name” goods.
Supply bottlenecks are not an issue
Daniel Best, operations manager of the Orthomobil medical supply store, is currently under stress because he is selling massive amounts of face masks. “If you want, I can order 10,000 FFP2 masks for you by tomorrow. Whether FFP3 masks or normal face masks - as many as you want”, says Best. Supply bottlenecks are not an issue for him and he has a good contact to thank for this. “I work with a man who used to be in the cosmetics industry and had a lot to do with China. He used to help the Chinese, and now they help him”, says the manager. The coveted masks are stored in a warehouse near Koblenz, but then are distributed immediately.
“Customers include hospitals and the federal states”, says Best. Currently, the businessman is still selling off his own stock of masks in his Bonn branches. “An FFP3 mask costs 30 euros, an FFP2 19 euros, and normal surgical face masks 2.50 euros”, he says. As soon as he offers his business partner's goods, an FFP2 mask will cost 14 euros. “Hospitals pay different prices, as the quantity determines the price”, says Best.
(Original text: Maximilian Mühlens, translation John Chandler)