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Gut Health and Surviving Covid-19: Is There a Connection?

Gut Health and Surviving Covid-19: Is There a Connection?

A few days ago, we came across several articles on the connection to gut health and Covid-19 from Reuters, American Society for Microbiology, Yahoo News, etc, essentially saying the number of good bacteria living in your gut may help the severity of Covid-19 symptoms and recovery. Basically, good bacteria benefits our immune system, which as we all know, a strong immune system is key to battling deadly viruses. The reports also state that poor gut health is increasing the severity of Covid-19. Because of this, we started looking into gut detoxification, probiotics, GI Tract support, and of course, more ways to boost our immune system and make sure our gut has good bacteria. Luckily, there are multiple probiotic health and wellness products, supplements, and foods that aid in exactly what we’re looking for – building up our gut health.

Gut Health and Surviving Covid-19: Is There a Connection?

In case you didn’t know, the word probiotic literally means “for life.” As in, it is necessary for life. We’re going beyond the typical yogurts and kefirs; we’re highlighting supplements and other foods that provide the probiotics our bodies need to help win the battle against this deadly pandemic. Thanks to these probiotic-rich products from Tokyo-based brand SHINYALab, Routine, YouTheory, Shrewd Food, and Fond, we’re making sure our gut health is at the optimum level.

SHINYALab Intestinal Youth and Vital Enzymes Supplements

SHINYALab Intestinal Youth and Vital Enzymes Supplements

Intestinal Youth, $39.99, is a Saisei Blend of “sticky” ingredients (seaweed, lotus root, and okra) that brings the best of Nippon Wisdom to your body. Developed by SHINYALab’s in-house Ph.D., these “sticky ingredients” help support rejuvenation and graceful aging of the GI tract. They contain large amounts of mucopolysaccharides, a biologically active substance that supports wound healing, tissue regeneration, and provides a protective barrier over an inflamed digestive tract.

Vital Enzymes, $49.99 is a unique supplement that includes fermented ancient Japanese grains, seeds, and flora manufactured using low-temperature technology. It contains Koji, an abundant beta-glucan that stimulates immunity through macrophages and glycosylceramide. It has improving effects on the skin and intestinal microbial flora.

We’ve added the above Japanese supplements to our daily vitamin and supplements intake. It’s just over a week and we look forward to the wonderful health benefits and results.

Routine Probiotics for Her

Gut Health and Surviving Covid-19: Is There a Connection?

Routine Probiotics for Her, $39.95, is a complete prebiotic-probiotic supplement. It boasts 24 billion CFU per capsule, curated with 5 premium strains, and delivers with minimal eco-impact. Motivated to design a simpler, streamlined, scientifically-backed supplement, Routine is rooted in 5 core principles—science, ingredients with integrity, transparency, community, and sustainability. It’s about building a foundation for whole-body health—living better, feeling better, and nourishing a healthier, more vibrant you. Adding Routine to your every day is one of the easiest, fastest ways to nourish your body. The daily women’s probiotic was carefully curated with 5 USA-sourced strains that have been scientifically proven to improve gut health, boost immunity, balance vaginal health, promote healthy weight, and relieve stress and anxiety.

YouTheory Spore Probiotic Capsules

Gut Health and Surviving Covid-19: Is There a Connection?

Youtheory Spore Probiotic capsules, $27.99, are uniquely designed to survive and thrive. The word “spore” means seed. Like a seed, each spore probiotic is covered by a naturally protective shell that safeguards it until it reaches the intestinal tract. Spore technology is simply a better way to replenish the body’s microflora – offering multiple advantages over traditional probiotic preparations. Unlike other probiotic strains, spore probiotics do not require big doses to stimulate a large biological response in the body. Unlike milk and lactose-based probiotics, they also do not require refrigeration, resist stomach acid breakdown, effectively colonize the human GI tract, and secretes L-lactic acid, which is favorable for health.

Shrewd Food Protein Cookies

Gut Health and Surviving Covid-19: Is There a Connection?

We know what you’re thinking, can cookies benefit gut health? Yes, these do! Made with 7 different fruits and vegetables, the Shrewd Food Protein Cookies, $14.99/variety pk, are delicious AND good for you. Each serving contains 8g of protein, probiotics (1 Billion CFU), prebiotics for digestive health, and of course, those tasty fruits and veggies mentioned earlier. Each bag of cookies contains only 200 calories; this allows you to treat yourself to the protein snacks you love without spoiling your diet. They are peanut and tree-nut-free, have no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Available in Oat & Chip and Oat & Berry, Shrewd Food is honestly the smartest way to snack your way to good gut health.

FOND Bone Broth

FOND Bone Broth

Although we haven’t tried it yet, FOND Bone Broth, $8.99/14oz jar, is another excellent foodie option to add probiotics to your day. You won’t find any preservatives in this broth, just all-natural goodness. It’s brewed like beer and infused similar to tea, creating a flavorful tonic while banning blandness in the process. Its unique flavor combinations make it unlike any other broth on the market. More importantly, it boasts a long list of health benefits. This includes gut health, anti-inflammatory properties, skincare restoration, weight maintenance, and more.

We want to know, are you doing anything to assure the health of your gut? Will you look into how good bacteria and gut health can help you beat Covid-19? Let us know in the comments.

Outdoor Winter Dining: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Outdoor Winter Dining: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

It’s clear that Americans have had to make incredible sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, we’ve had to adjust to working from home, seeing our friends through a screen, and even canceling major life events. Weddings and graduations have been postponed, while nine out of 10 funeral services held today have loved ones who are unable to attend.

That said, the pandemic has forced us to get creative. Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention — and despite the risks, many are determined to soldier on (albeit in new ways). That’s especially true for the restaurant industry, which was arguably one of the hardest-hit sectors during this health crisis. Things may not be back to normal yet, but we’ve found plenty of ways to support our favorite eateries — and experience something slightly resembling normalcy, in some cases.

Outdoor Winter Dining: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

igloo dining @nyc via  Instagram

Is Winter Outdoor Dining Safe?

One of the main questions being asked is whether winter outdoor dining is actually safe. Not only are the temperatures rather frigid in many parts of the country, but temporary structures are being erected by many restaurants in order to accommodate customers. The problem is that many of these structures don’t seem much safer than indoor dining when it comes right down to it.

There’s a lot of variation when it comes to outdoor dining structures. Some restaurants are using igloos or yurts, while others have enclosed areas on two or three sides. It’s a bit of a mystery as to whether or not any of these structures have proper airflow, which could be a problem if you’re dining with someone outside your immediate household. It’s also up to the municipality to set rules pertaining to outdoor dining capacity — but there’s no guarantee whether or not the restaurant will comply.

When an environmental engineering professor was interviewed by Vice News, it was revealed that an enclosure with multiple walls or sides can’t technically be categorized as outdoor dining from a safety standpoint. It’s also important to note that there are no totally safe indoor environments, even with good ventilation and air purification. Some restaurants are forgoing the six-feet rule with outdoor dining, as walls or tents provide a false sense of security and separation. And because customers don’t wear masks during meals, dining outdoors might be a lot riskier than you’d think. Of course, weather conditions can also make outdoor dining less safe. Snow, freezing temperatures, and even heat lamps could pose dangers to diners.

COVID-19 is certainly a huge concern for most Americans, given the number of rising cases across the country. Although anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 U.S. residents are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease every year, more than 27.8 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the last year with approximately 488,000 fatalities. While this isn’t deterring Americans from eating outdoors (or inside, in many cases), many experts agree that it’s nearly impossible to know whether an outdoor dining setup has good ventilation — and you might not know until you arrive how a given restaurant is adhering to health guidelines. Although virtually no situation is without risk, it’s worth asking yourself whether it’s really worth it in this case.

Outdoor Winter Dining: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Olio é Piu indoor/outdoor dining

What Should You Wear When Dining Outdoors This Winter?

If you live in a warmer state, you might not have to bundle up for outdoor dining. But in many areas, cold temperatures and inclement weather can make eating outside a lot less comfortable. And while some eateries will attempt to use technology to fight some of those effects, it’s never going to be as pleasant as indoor dining would be.

So how can you stay cozy? Dressing in layers is key. Instead of wearing breathable fabrics like cotton, opt for wool or synthetic fiber for your base layers. You should probably wear a thick, long puffer coat, thick socks, insulated boots, a scarf, leather gloves, and a hat, as well. It’s a good idea to BYOB — bring your own blanket, in the case — to cover yourself up as your body temperature drops throughout the evening. You might even consider getting yourself a battery-powered heated jacket or hand warmers for some extra warmth.

Overall, try to keep your meal brief (which you should do anyway to reduce transmission risk!) and check the weather forecast before you decide to dine out. It’s a good idea to call the restaurant directly, as well, to assess whether they have the room or what kinds of accommodations they might have. If you know you’re someone who is sensitive to the cold, it might be best to sit this one out.

Outdoor Winter Dining: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

What’s the Best Way to Keep Supporting Local Restaurants?

Many people choose to dine outdoors because they simply miss the restaurant experience. But a CDC study from September found that adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than those who tested negative (and there was no discrimination made between indoor and outdoor dining). Another study published in November found that restaurants were the riskiest places for new infections. If you’re being tempted because you see others enjoying meals outside or you want to support your favorite eatery, you might want to consider some alternatives.

Although fully loaded semi-trucks can weigh as much as 18,000 pounds, lighter-weight food trucks are still a common sight on many roads throughout the United States. If you have a favorite, follow them on social media to see where they might be headed if you’re looking for a restaurant experience without taking as big a chance. Ordering take-out is also a popular option, albeit not a new one. Instead of relying on GrubHub or DoorDash, which take a percentage of sales from the restaurant, opt to order directly through the restaurant for pick-up or delivery. Many restaurants put together special dining packages for holidays or even virtual events, so inquire with them about whether there might be something exciting to try at home.

It’s not easy for many of us to accept that restaurant dining isn’t yet back to normal. But until it is, dining outdoors this winter might be a bit too risky — or just a bit too uncomfortable — for some.

MaskFone: The World's First Athletic Face Mask with Integrated Earbuds

MaskFone: The World’s First Athletic Face Mask with Integrated Earbuds

We all are too familiar with those who do not like wearing face masks. In truth, it can be bothersome when trying to eat or drink, communicate if you are deaf, avoiding maskne, or making and receiving phone calls. Unfortunately, face masks are a necessity for our health and the health of others and are needed. Thankfully, companies are stepping up with fast innovation to help us deal with life wearing face masks. There are face masks with straw holes for drinking and masks with clear windows for communicating with the hearing impaired. Now there’s a face mask made specifically to take and receive phone calls and listen to music without having to take it off. Say hello to MaskFone, the world’s first true wireless headphones and mask in-one.

MaskFone: The World's First Athletic Face Mask with Integrated Earbuds

You read that correctly; this mask is designed with a built-in microphone to take phone calls while wearing it. There is no need to take off your mask while on a call. While virtually attending Pepcom and CES, we were introduced to this wonder-gadget. We instantly wished we had this in 2020; our mask experienced would’ve been more tolerable. With this groundbreaking, optimal face mask from Binatone, you can enjoy maximum protection against airborne health risks (thanks to its 5-layer filtration system) while enjoying a more convenient and serviceable way of taking phone calls and listening to music.

MaskFone: The World's First Athletic Face Mask with Integrated Earbuds

MaskFone: The World's First Athletic Face Mask with Integrated Earbuds

The MaskFone brings together Hubble Connected’s patented technology which includes a built-in microphone that eliminates muffled audio, and PM2.5 filters or medical grade N95 Filters (sold with the MaskFone Premium). You can also just buy the N95 Filters separately to up your protection level. The Bluetooth connected earbuds boast 12 hours of playtime, is IPX5 water and sweat resistant, a built-in microphone, crystal clear audio, voice projection technology, and are Google, Alexa & Siri compatible. Its sleek and clean design combines functionality and fashion.

The face mask comes with the aforementioned filters with replaceable filters. It features hidden cables, and controls that fall along the jawline, a comfortable fit that forms to all face shapes, magnetic earbud holders, adjustable neoprene ear hooks, a stabilizer for an extra secure fit, and is made from washable and durable twill fabric. Plus, its innovation combines several key industries – fashion, technology, health, and safety. As Tim Gunn always says, “make it work!” and Binatone certainly did. Of course, we didn’t expect anything less from a company that’s a leading global manufacturer of innovative IoT, smart home, and consumer electronic devices for the baby, home, personal audio, and lifestyle camera categories.

MaskFone - The World's First Athletic Face Mask with Integrated Earbuds

The MaskFone is available in small/medium and medium/large. The Classic with 3 included PM2.5 filters retails for $49.99 and the Premium with 3 included N95 filters is $69.99. Both are currently available on www.Maskfone.com. They will be launching in stores and online at Target and Amazon by February 1st, with additional retailers to follow. Trust us when we say this is the only face mask you will need in 2021.

 

 

Giftgowns Holiday Masks: Share Your Holiday Spirit While Staying Safe

Giftgowns Holiday Masks: Share Your Holiday Spirit While Staying Safe

Although there may be some who refuse to wear a mask, many, like us, are fully embracing it as an extra piece to our look. We see masks as fashion accessories; another fashion detail we’re happy to have fun with while staying safe during his pandemic. Thankfully there are a lot of companies who feel the same way and are giving us fashion lovers exactly what we need – a chance to protect ourselves without losing our fashion sense. As we enter the holiday season, this is no different. Giftgowns, makers of cozy, comfy, and functional hospital gowns have all the festive holiday-themed face masks you could want. They are a perfect way to share your holiday spirit while staying safe. These red and green Giftgowns holiday masks are available with a variety of Christmas sayings and images.

Giftgowns Holiday Masks: Share Your Holiday Spirit While Staying Safe

Have you been naughty or nice? Want to show off your grouchy holiday face? Does Santa’s reindeer bring you lots of joy? Do you love the winter season or want to show your dislike for 2020? With the Giftgowns holiday masks, you can! The breathable holiday masks are washable and feature two layers of cotton, a pocket for filters, and they fit snugly across your face. And, of course, they boast classic and cute designs on the front.

Giftgowns Holiday Masks: Share Your Holiday Spirit While Staying Safe

There are quite a few holiday masks to love and at $15.00 each, you can get several. There are at least 24 different Giftgowns holiday masks for both adults and kids. They make perfect for stocking stuffers. Naturally, we have several favorites. We love the I Tried Face Mask, Resting Grinch Face Mask, Bah Humbug Face Mask (which perfectly sums up how we feel about 2020, and From A Distance Face Mask. We’ve shared our favorites, which are yours?

Whichever Giftgowns holiday masks you decide to get for yourself or gift to your loved ones, you will be sharing the joyful spirit of the holiday season and showing that you care.

Will You Be Prepared For The Second Wave Of Covid-19?

Will You Be Prepared For The Second Wave Of Covid-19?

In case you haven’t heard, it looks like we’re heading for the second wave of Covid-19. As the weather gets colder and we enter cold and flu season, we’ll all be more susceptible to the Coronavirus thanks to weakened immune systems. This means we must continue to protect ourselves with the tools we in place – face masks and hand sanitizers. While many thought wearing face masks and carrying bottles of hand sanitizer was a temporary inconvenience, it looks like we’re in for the long haul. With that said, we thought we’d help you stay ahead. While we hope you’re continuing to strengthen your immunity with vitamins and supplements, today, we’re concentrating on the preventative measures you should never leave home without.

Will You Be Prepared For The Second Wave Of Covid-19?

As new health stapes, we present the following essential health and wellness musts from Casupo, Milk Makeup, Wakamono, and Elyptol; all available now to help you beat the second wave Of Covid-19.

Casupo Face Masks, $25.00 & Mask Chains/Lanyards $5.00 – $32.00

Casupo Face Masks & Mask Chains/Lanyards

Handmade in Los Angeles, Casupo creates one of the most environmentally conscious, reusable face masks. These washable, dual-layered face masks are durable, breathable, and comfortable to wear. They’re made with premium cotton and soft elastics for maximum comfort and can be worn behind the ears or behind the head. The boasts filter pockets, toggle adjusters for a better fit and they are reversible. They’re also available in solid, but we’re truly enamored with the above floral and greenery prints.

Casupo also offers a variety of mask accessories like mask chains and lanyards for those who have a bad habit of losing or forgetting their face masks. They are a stylish way to keep your mask around your neck or hanging in a safe place away from any dirty surfaces. It’s fashion meets function.

Milk Makeup Hand Sanitizer, $6.00

Will You Be Prepared For The Second Wave Of Covid-19?

If you thought your need for hand sanitizer was going away, think again; in fact, as cold and flu season comes upon us, you’ll need it even more. This on-the-go liquid hand sanitizer kills 99.9% of germs with 70% ethanol alcohol while moisturizing and softening your hands and providing an uplifting sensorial experience via three unique blends of all-natural essential oils. Plus, with every purchase, you’ll be helping others be prepared for the second wave of Covid-19.

Spicy Herb: A crisp, energizing blend of spicy pink peppercorn and herbaceous buchu leaf oil balanced by relaxing sage and rich cedarwood oils.
Bright Citrus: Lush, citrusy arrangement of juicy grapefruit oil, stimulating lemongrass oil, and floral ylang ylang oil rounded out by creamy vanilla.
Warm Rose: Warm floral combination of blooming rose oil and spicy coriander seed oil complemented by fruity bergamot, sweet tonka bean, and woodsy akigalawood.

Milk Makeup has partnered with longstanding partner, The Center, and will donate one Hand Sanitizer for every one purchased to four local LGBTQ+ organizations. These LGBTQ+ orgs include The Center, God’s Love We Deliver, Housing Works, and Callen-Lorde Health Center.

Wakamono Anti-Coronavirus Surgical Mask, $79.99 (box of 50)

Will You Be Prepared For The Second Wave Of Covid-19?

As the second wave of Covid-19 hits, we may experience another shortage of PPE, and we must be ready. Many companies are working as fast as they can to keep us safe. One such company is Wakamono who has just launched an antimicrobial medical mask created to not only filter viruses and bacteria but to kill them on contact. Wakamono’s mask utilizes a Gecide fabric layer that is covered with millions of organic nanoparticles that “trap”, weaken and destroy viruses and bacteria upon contact. What you’re seeing is the world’s first Nano Biotech application mask.

This mask has been shown to be effective against 99% of the strains of SARS-CoV-2 which is the Human Coronavirus strain causing the COVID-19 pandemic. This unique mask is also capable of self-killing Coronavirus strains including strain NL63, 229E, and inactivates influenza A H1N1 – the enveloped viruses and Poliovirus-I – the non-enveloped viruses. In addition to the antiviral properties, the Wakamono mask meets and exceeds the highest FDA standards of the US: ASTM F2100 level 3, and European CE EN 14683 Type IIR. It is also certified biosafety (according to tests for in vitro cytotoxicity) and made with organic and natural components. The masks are free from any metal nanoparticles and have been tested/certified by independent labs including FDA, Eurofins and Pacific BioLabs, and more. The masks are available for $79.99 (box of 50), 2-4 (50 boxes) for $45.00, and 5 and more (50 boxes for $29.00 at www.wakamonobio.com.

Elyptol Hand Sanitizer, 16oz $13.99

Elyptol Hand Sanitizer

Thanks to the healing properties of eucalyptus oil and naturally-sourced pure ethanol, Elyptol brings you a hand sanitizer that sanitizes in a healthy and eco-friendly way. In fact, did you know they made the first Type 1 eco-certified and professionally registered hand sanitizer? Despite its gentle feel, this hospital-grade natural sanitizer’s efficient formula is powerful enough to kill 99.9999% of bacteria, fungi, and other common germs that cause disease. It is EWG Verified and available in gel and spray forms. This award-winning endorsed, and FDA registered hand sanitizer is available in a 24-pk 0.5oz gel for $23.76, 16oz gel or spray for $13.99, 6-pk 2oz spray for $29.34, 60-count wipes for $6.99.

Add these to your fall and winter must-haves and you’ll do fine during the second wave of Covid-19.

How Clear Face Masks Are Opening a Window of Communication

How Clear Face Masks Are Opening a Window of Communication

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t exactly been convenient for anyone, but the changes and regulations that have occurred because of it are more troublesome for some than others. In particular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that everyone wear cloth face coverings in public has created a major challenge for people who have hearing impairments. People who are deaf or hard of hearing often rely on lip-reading to understand what others are saying. With masks now covering the lower half of almost every face in public, reading lips has become virtually impossible.

How Clear Face Masks Are Opening a Window of Communication

For the 10 million Americans who are hard of hearing, this means that basic communication is not-so-basic anymore. Just going to the grocery store presents problems, as they can’t tell if someone is asking them a question or to move out of the way. Going to important appointments creates an even more dangerous situation for people who rely on reading lips, as they don’t know what doctors or other medical professionals are attempting to tell them.

These challenges have caused the demand for window or clear face masks to skyrocket over the past few months. The United States already spends nearly three times more on healthcare than any other country in the world, but people across the country knew they had to put the necessary money and time into making masks that would create a safer way of living for people who are hearing impaired. While they might not be able to get everyone in a grocery store to wear one, their family members could wear them and act as a go-between for people with hearing impairments and the general public or medical providers.

How Clear Face Masks Are Opening a Window of Communication

One company that has started manufacturing window masks is ADCO Hearing, a company that has long made products for people who are hard of hearing. When the nonprofit Hands and Voices, which supports families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, approached ADCO about making masks that allowed for lip reading, the company got to work. The President of ADCO Hearing, Abby Armijo, started the production of these window masks by hand sewing them with her mother in her kitchen. They made 150 clear face masks and every single one was sold by the next morning. Armijo knew she had found a major gap in the mask market and began the process of expanding the operation.

How Clear Face Masks Are Opening a Window of Communication

Now, ADCO has three large-scale manufacturing facilities that make thousands of window masks. According to Armijo, the company is almost always sold out of the clear face masks.

Although the mask’s see-through panel is a simple concept, it’s a game-changer in the daily lives of many people. Not only can it help people who are deaf or hard of hearing, but a window mask also allows anyone to have an effective conversation involving full facial expressions with another human being while staying safe. This can be extremely important for the 65 million people who provide care for a chronically ill, aged, or disabled family member or friend and need more than their eyes and muffled voices to communicate. Even though people may not realize it, humans use every part of their face to communicate, not just their voices and ears.

This perk of window masks is also important when communicating with children. Seeing people wearing face masks can be scary for young kids and many children with hearing or speaking impairments or other disabilities have significant trouble communicating with masks. Using window masks may be a great option for teachers to have effective conversations with kids if they go back to school. Whether they work at a school that is among the 87% of private schools that have fewer than 300 students or at a public school with a thousand students, teachers are concerned about kids following mask policies. With window masks, everyone can stay safe while having better communication.

In addition to ADCO, there are many companies and individuals making masks with clear windows. Rafi Nova is a speech pathologist based in Boston and made a mask with a BPA-free plastic window. Inu is selling window masks on Amazon that have a cotton-based face covering and plastic for the window portion. ClearMask™ is producing a wraparound mask that is completely clear and doesn’t fog as easily as vinyl plastic. Three years of research and development went into this mask and this is one of the only window face masks approved by the Food and Drug Administration. For those who don’t need FDA approval and just need a way to better communicate with family and friends, there are several window mask sellers on sites like Etsy as well.

How Can South Africa's Wine Industry Recover from COVID-19?

How Can South Africa’s Wine Industry Recover from COVID-19?

There aren’t many industries left unaffected by the global spread of COVID-19 this year. With each affected industry is the many people who work within it and depend on its success for their livelihoods. Despite an increase in at-home drinking in the U.S. and Britain during the pandemic, the wine industry is among these affected industries. The restaurant and hospitality sectors were almost immediately impacted by the resulting lockdowns and quarantines from COVID-19. causing global wine sales to drop significantly.

How Can South Africa's Wine Industry Recover from COVID-19?

In the famous South African wine country, those in the industry have been struggling even more acutely with a total ban on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown and a temporary ban on wine exports. South Africa is the only country to have imposed such bans during the global pandemic.

How Can South Africa's Wine Industry Recover from COVID-19?

The controversial alcohol bans came in two waves. The first ban on the sale of alcohol began at the end of March and lasted for about nine weeks. For five of those weeks, wine exports were also banned. As about 50% of South Africa’s wine is exported in some of the 17 million shipping containers that circulate globally, this was a devastating blow to the industry. This initial ban was lifted on June 1, but President Cyril Ramaphosa reinstated it on July 12 when COVID-19 rates began to rise again.

The purpose of these bans is to ease the burden on South Africa’s health services. So far, coronavirus has hit the country the hardest out of all nations on the African continent. The health systems in many areas of South Africa are on the verge of collapse.

Graham Beck Wines - South Africa Wines

Officials hoped that the initial ban would reduce the number of injuries and accidents hospitals had to deal with if alcohol was out of the picture. With 1.25 million people dying in road crashes and an additional 20 to 50 million people sustaining injuries from traffic collisions around the world every year, removing a primary cause of these accidents could make sense. According to the South African health minister Zweli Mkhize, the government reinstated the ban after a study showed that when the alcohol restrictions were lifted facilities reported as much as a 60% increase in trauma emergency center admissions and up to a 200% increase in ICU trauma admissions. Mkhize also said that models showed that a ban on alcohol sales could result in a 20% decrease in all trauma cases and a 40% reduction of all alcohol-related trauma by the third week.

While the reasoning behind the ban is to ultimately save lives, the 290,000 people directly employed in the South African wine industry fear for their financial futures. There are 533 wineries operating in the country and 2,778 grape-growing farms. The worries over job losses in these businesses are not so different from the worries those in the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. are facing. Without the ability to produce and sell products, jobs are at risk.

“For the initial ban on both local sales and exports, we anticipated losses of up to 18,000 jobs. Depending on how long this new ban is in place, this figure is likely to double…With the initial lockdown, we estimated that up to 80 wineries could have to close their doors,” a spokesperson from the industry body Wines of South Africa (WOSA) said.

Many of those in the wine industry, and people in the hospitality industry as well, have taken to social media with the #JobsSaveLives campaign in an attempt to save their futures. The campaign urges Ramaphosa’s government to partially lift the ban and allow the sale of alcohol in sit-down restaurants. It also calls on the government to ease the 9 pm curfew that was imposed in July 2020.

The stand to save the wine and hospitality industries has even made the leap from virtual to tactile, as protesters have gone to the streets in cities across South Africa. They’re hoping that government leaders hear their voices and realize that the hundreds of thousands of people who work in these industries are going to suffer without some kind of help.

Graham Beck Wines - South Africa Wines

Another social media campaign, identified with #SaveSAWine, is calling on wine drinkers around the world to help support the South African wine industry by purchasing and consuming their wine. As the eighth-largest wine producer in the world, the South African wine industry has an impact on the global wine industry. The country produced 974 million liters of wine in 2019, according to figures from WOSA.

For the sake of the global economy as well as the 40,000 grape farm and winery workers and their dependents, people around the world need to support the South African wine industry. Whether you show support by purchasing South African wine or raising awareness of the industry’s struggle through social media, you could be helping the thousands of families who depend on this industry to survive.

Pandemic Panache: How COVID-19 is Changing the Fashion Industry

Pandemic Panache: How COVID-19 is Changing the Fashion Industry

Quarantine, but make it fashion.

Although that might have been a phrase uttered in ironic social media posts, the reality is that the fashion industry has experienced major disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, fashion is ever-evolving — and often as a result of social and global change — so it makes sense that some brands are able to roll with the punches and address emerging consumer demands. Let’s take a look at some of the ways the fashion industry has been impacted by the novel coronavirus.

Pandemic Panache: How COVID-19 is Changing the Fashion Industry

Fashion Industry Outlook

Around 50% of small businesses survive for five years or more — and independent designers and even small-but-well-known brands are having a tough time due to COVID-19. While brands owned by luxury conglomerates are weathering the storm just fine (and some have even seen revenue increases since the onset of the pandemic), even high-end independent brands like Tiffany and Co., Mulberry, and Salvatore Ferragamo have endured massive layoffs and multi-million dollar losses. Not surprisingly, most consumers aren’t in a position to drop a ton of cash on a brand name bag or an expensive necklace right now.

It’s also important to note that the global supply chain for brands has seen major upsets, especially when it comes to fast fashion. Brands aren’t able to deliver low-cost products quickly, as their suppliers have often been cut off due to the virus. As a result, many stores (like Zara) have shut location doors permanently and others (like H and M) have offered massive mid-season sales to make up for the loss in revenue. Even Anna Wintour of Vogue has hinted that the pandemic could spell the end of the road for fast fashion.

Fashionable Face Masks

Still, creativity continues to thrive — and necessity is the mother of invention, as is evidenced by the many designers who have switched gears from couture dresses to face coverings. From Eva Franco and Alice + Olivia to independent Etsy shops, brands have been making — and selling out — face masks for months. Even major corporations like Disney and sports organizations have gotten into the game. Now that the CDC agrees that mask-wearing is essential for all persons over the age of two, consumers are eager to get their hands on reusable fabric masks that can protect them in public spaces. Despite the fact that 93% of kids have seen a doctor within the last year, both children and adults want to do what they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means there’s a major market for face coverings. And while no one is making a substantial income from these masks (as the unwritten rule is to cover only the cost of materials and minimal labor), it’s a way for brands to stay in the public eye, keep employees busy, and provide a much-needed product to the masses.

Work-From-Home Style

In-person fashion shows, like so many events, have gone digital. The combination of travel restrictions and social distancing requirements makes strutting down the catwalk or sitting in the front row next to impossible. And while some people are looking for a bit of escapism, many others just want to be comfortable.

Around 60% of millennials say that improved technology will make the need for face-to-face conversations obsolete — and we’ve seen that put to the test throughout the pandemic. Although it may have been surprising to some, the fact is that business meetings and social get-togethers can take place to great effect via video chat.

As a result, much of the workforce is being productive from their living rooms. While they might be inclined to wear a nice shirt or blouse on top, many of these employees are wearing sweatpants or loungewear on the bottom. And those who have been laid off and have nowhere to go are also opting for ultimate comfort. Sales of pajamas increased by 143% in April, while purchases of pants, bras, and jackets dropped by percentage points in the double digits. And although Crocs saw some major sales thanks to the pandemic and many athletic footwear companies have seen some successes, overall shoe sales were down in Q1 of 2020.

That said, these trends might reverse as states start to reopen. When China finally reopened, one Hermes store had its biggest sales day in history because consumers were so eager to get back to other shopping habits. Still, some are saying that transitioning from comfy clothes to restrictive workwear might not be easy, particularly because weight gain has proven common during the quarantine. Online secondhand clothing sales, especially those on platforms like Poshmark and Mercari, have been fruitful throughout the pandemic — but once retailers and thrift stores start to reopen, it’s possible that those sales might start to dip.

But what might happen over the next couple of months is still a bit of an unknown, especially as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise in areas that have already reopened. We might well have to brace for a second wave, which could cause us to revert to our pandemic habits — but brands might be better prepared for that possibility now that they can more accurately predict consumer behavior.