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People with disability may experience anxiety when wearing facemasks and being exposed to people wearing them. With COVID-19 public health orders stipulating the wearing of masks when outside of a private home, exposure to facemasks cannot be avoided. This paper presents a case study outlining a project by Mercy Connect, a disability service provider in Albury (Australia), to ‘normalize’ facemasks to participants during the period when a public health order to ‘stay at home’ was in place. Participants were offered the opportunity to create a mask design and enter it into a competition for a participants’ and a people’s choice award. The winning designs have been produced for distribution among participants and for sale to staff and the wider public. Inclusion and a reduction in anxiety were the key outcomes, along with a heightened sense of self-worth and achievement for the winners.
Keywords: COVID-19, disability, inclusiveness, fitted face masks, social alienation