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Mask sales spike across Finland

THL is expected to recommend mask wearing in public spaces and on public transport this week.

Lauri Räike Kannelmaen Prismassa ostamassa kasvomaskeja koronaviruksen takia.
Daily sales of face masks are three times higher now. Image: Toni Määttä / Yle

Face mask stockpiling was reported at Finnish shops after it was reported on Sunday that the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL could recommend mask wearing in public spaces and on public transport.

Mask sales have been relatively steady during the spring, but sales have spiked over the past week, according to retailers asked by Yle.

"We noticed a rise in demand since last week and expect it to grow even more," retail chain S-Group’s Janne Paananen.

Sales of face masks are now three times higher than before, according to Jenni Moisanen, K Group's sourcing manager.

Despite the rise in demand, store managers say there’s currently no fear of a shortage.

"Once the recommendation is out, of course, demand will increase. However, availability is much better than now than it was at the beginning of the year," Kati Vuorikallas, director of the pharmacy chain Yliopiston Apteekki said.

The retailers added that they are closely monitoring the situation and are in discussions with suppliers to ensure there is no shortage of masks.

How much do masks cost?

The price of fabric masks varies depending on the pack size and where they are bought.

For instance, on e-ville.com, washable fabric masks cost 3.95 euros apiece. The price at Vistaprint.fi is 14 euros per mask and Finlayson's three-piece pack costs 19.95 euros.

A pack of two fabric masks at the pharmacy chain Yliopiston Apteekki costs 18.90 euros. At Lidl, one fabric face mask costs 3.99 euros and a pack of two, 5.99 euros.

Each person should have enough fabric masks to last a few days, as they should be washed after each use, according to Vuorikallas.

Disposable masks meanwhile, costs about a euro a piece, with prices varying slightly at different outlets and with online stores levying separate delivery fees.

For those who want to make their own fabric masks, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has published instructions on the best practices.

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