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Etsy CEO: Coronavirus face masks now being sold by 20,000 shops

'We're now selling hundreds of thousands of fabric face masks every day,' Josh Silverman says

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Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said Tuesday that 20,000 of its shops are selling face masks during the coronavirus.

Silverman said in mid-March COVID-19 hit the company "pretty hard," but "within days" sellers shifted toward making masks.

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"We're now selling hundreds of thousands of fabric face masks every day," Silverman told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. "And when you buy a facemask on Etsy, you're helping your neighbor, you're helping a fellow citizen, and you're also buying something that's got a little style, that's got a little pizzazz."

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
ETSYETSY INC80.98+3.17+4.07%

The e-commerce website began seeing an "overwhelming amount of demand" after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidelines to suggest that Americans should cover their faces with fabric masks in early April. According to Silverman searches for face masks increased at an average of nine times per second.

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"It's as though you woke up and it was suddenly Cyber Monday and everyone was looking for only one product. And it's a product that nobody yet made so we put out a call to our sellers," Silverman said.

The CDC recommends the use of a cloth face mask to slow the spread of the virus but is not recommended as hospital-grade or surgical masks.

A customer wears a mask as she shops at a Jewel Osco grocery store in Mount Prospect, Ill., April 4, 2020 (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh).  (Associated Press)

Silverman noted that while he is not a medical expert or trying to make medical claims, meeting the demands of average consumers protects personal protective equipment so it goes to people that need it the most.

"The CDC suggests that they think that it's better to wear a fabric face mask than not to wear a fabric face mask," he said. "And we think it's important that we protect the medical grade equipment to go to hospital employees and first responders and people who really need it."

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