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Visit Oxford, Chick-Fil-A to give away 7,000 free face coverings

Facial coverings, such as masks, are now required when going into businesses that are open in Oxford, and the City is providing free masks on Friday.

Visit Oxford, along with the City of Oxford and Chick-Fil-A, will distribute face coverings to help with the City’s ordinance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The masks will have a unique connection with the Double Decker Arts Festival. For the first time in 25 years, the annual late-April event was postponed to August. However, commemorative shirts had already been ordered bearing the original dates of this year’s event on April 24 and 25.

Visit Oxford’s executive director Kinney Ferris came up with an idea to still put the now-outdated shirts to good use by turning them into masks.

“I had this crazy thought that we had all of these t-shirts, and what could we do with them to help our community get open safely?” Ferris said.

A conversation between Ferris and Lance Reed, who operates the Oxford Chick-Fil-A location, solidified her idea. So, Reed loaded 11 boxes of Double Decker t-shirts – more than 660 shirts in various sizes – and drove them to Memphis, where a vendor laser-cut them into more than 7,000 face coverings within one week.

“We were looking for a way to give back and serve the community during this unprecedented time when Kinney called,” Reed said. “We are happy to partner with Visit Oxford and the City; we always want to support our community anyway we can.”

In coordination with Oxford emergency management director Jimmy Allgood, Oxford High School’s campus was set as the location to distribute the face coverings – the same location where the City distributed free hand sanitizer earlier this month. There will be two different pick-up times on Friday: 8 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., or until supplies last. There is a maximum of four face coverings per vehicle.