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These face masks come with a straw hole for sipping cocktails

As the country gets comfortable with wearing face masks to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, people are finding that certain activities aren’t conducive to having your face covered, particularly eating and drinking.

Not yet ready to give up an occasional cocktail outdoors, artist Ellen Macomber designed a unique face mask, featuring a small straw slot for sipping cocktails that could have only originated in a city famed for its nightlife.

“We’re all in New Orleans, and here in New Orleans, we like to drink,” says Macomber, who began sewing masks to join the fight against COVID-19, as many others have done lately, and to keep her business afloat as retail shopping sales slump. Besides masks, her online shop also features a wide selection of ornate accessories, such as handbags, caftans and capes.

It was a friend who gave her the idea for the drinking modification, according to Fast Company. In one week, she and her assistant produced 40 masks, each of which takes about an hour to complete. They use cotton combined with other embellished fabrics from her stockpile of colorful and bedazzled scraps, and charge $30 apiece.

Mask designer Ellen MacomberEllen Macomber

Within half an hour of launch, the whole lot had sold out.

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“We were thinking of doing a lip appliqué, where it would flap open and close, but you’d have to touch your face. I was like, ‘Well that won’t work because you have to touch your mask,” Macomber told Fast Company. “That’s when I was like, ‘Dude, we just drill a little flap, an extra layer, and you angle the straw to get in. So the hole is never completely open.’”

She thinks the masks are going to be particularly useful to those who spend more time in public spaces.

“Anything is better than nothing,” she said. “If we’re going to be handling different errands … this is just one option for one of the variety of errands you’re needing to do.”

The cheeky designer made clear that she is not a health expert, nor should her masks be considered the best form of prevention. Still, she says her invention fulfills a critical gap in the market, claiming that people will continue to meet and drink together regardless of masks. At least this way they can do both.

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“This is the biggest s - - tshow I’ve ever encountered in my life,” says Macomber. “So I’m just rolling with the punches, and trying to provide my clients with what they’re asking for: a mask. This is my take on it.”