Cascais Mask Factory / Accessible masks programme



Policy areas

Organisation name Câmara Municipal de Cascais

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Contact person: Duarte Gaspar

Within the scope of the measures to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘Accessible Masks’ Programme was implemented as an initiative of the Municipality of Cascais in partnership with the social, associative, cultural and sports sectors in the municipality. Under this programme, the Cascais City Council provided, in May 2020, 850 000 individual protection masks to Private Institutions of Social Solidarity and other entities of recognised merit in the municipality, which will make them available to citizens at prices much lower than those currently in place.

Within this programme, Cascais City Council acquired industrial equipment to manufacture protective masks in Cascais for all residents and entities of the municipality, thus guaranteeing autonomy, cost reduction and less environmental impact in the fight against Covid-19. Two machines were purchased in China with a production capacity of more than five million masks per month, with a production cost per unit that is half the best price offered in the market.

Mask dispensers have been placed all over the municipality of Cascais, allowing any citizen to purchase a package of four units for €1. The installed capacity at the factory means it is already possible for the municipality to send this product to other institutions. Companies in the municipality of Cascais can purchase masks for 30 cents a unit, while other municipalities and companies outside the municipality can do so by paying 40 cents.

This programme also has a margin for combating a health problem; with this project the municipality sought to also face another scourge that Covid-19 originated: unemployment. Through a partnership with the employment centre, a large number of the people who are currently working at the mask factory came from this connection, precisely to combat this economic and social scourge, and can now combine a salary with support to fight the disease.

This project opened a new area of activity with the natural challenges of intervening in a sector of greater importance for the lives of people, which is health. With this project, the municipality can provide a service to residents and visitors, intervening in all phases of the cycle, development, production and distribution of masks. The pandemic allowed and allows skills and knowledge rarely used by local authorities to be acquired.

The Cascais City Council installed 400 mask dispensers as vending machines, which were spread across the entire territory of the municipality and accompanied by teams of young volunteers with the mission of informing and helping the citizens and visitors of the municipality. Cascais had several voluntary campaigns with about 2000 young people. In 2021, around 150 young people were involved in free distribution of masks in the county. These teams are also at the railway and bus terminals, and at the main stops, distributing masks.

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