COVID-19 response

Austin celebrities donate 80,000 much-needed face masks to local healthcare workers

Austin celebrities donate 80,000 face masks to healthcare workers

Matthew McConaughey Camila Alves AFD face masks
The McConaugheys made the announcement on April 10. Photo by Division Chief Thayer Smith, Austin Fire Department

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves McConaughey made a surprise announcement on April 10, spotlighting their part in fighting the novel coronavirus in Austin. The Hollywood A-lister joined his supermodel wife in pledging to donate 80,000 N95 face masks, a critical and scarce accessory for those on the front lines against COVID-19. 

The masks will go to healthcare workers, public servants, and other essential workers in both Austin and New Orleans, Alves McConaughey announced on her Instagram.

"Our mission is to protect those who protect us, by providing healthcare workers, firefighters, police officers, and others with approximately 80,000 masks needed to battle the #COVID19 virus," Alves McConaughey wrote. 

As COVID-19 has spread across the globe, so too has demand for personal protective equipment, leading to a worldwide shortage of N95 face masks, protective gowns, and other critical equipment, and forcing many to reuse masks or improvise with other materials.

To get masks into the hands of local healthcare workers and first responders, Alves McConaughey said they are working with BStrong, the disaster relief initiative started by reality TV star Bethenny Frankel. To make the announcement, the McConaugheys, clad in gloves and their own masks, made in-person visits to Austin Fire Department Station 32 and Austin Police Department's downtown headquarters. 

"On behalf of the public safety and healthcare families, a HUGE thank you to the McConaugheys for their generous gift," Austin Fire posted on Facebook, along with a photograph of the McConaugheys and three firefighters (all standing six feet apart, of course).

For those who aren't on the front lines, a homemade face mask should be enough to help curb the spread. Luckily, McConaughey has rolled out a PSA detailing how you can turn a homemade bandana into your own mask. Because, as McConaughey says: "We've got more livin' to do."