In five days, Onboard Band-it gave away 2,000 buffs. The face coverings, very popular with local fishermen, have found new uses in the COVID-19 era.

“We decided to do our part and donate all our face masks, or buffs, to any medical facilities or first responders in need of personal protective equipment,” said Josh Gratton, who co-owns the five-year-old business with J.P. McCabe. Onboard Band-it even covered the shipping in some cases.

Where did the buffs go? It might be easier to ask where they DIDN’T go. The company shipped to medical facilities in North Carolina, New York and Florida’s Alachua County. The Monroe County Fire Department received a bulk order, so did Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, and others went to Key Colony Beach building officials, the Dolphin Research Center and The Turtle Hospital. Local Walgreens employees and taxi drivers also got a batch, as did Food for Thought and Driftwood Pizza restaurant employees.

The buffs normally retail for $10 each. 

Are they as effective as N95 masks, the ones in such short supply? Of course not. But any type of face-covering does one important thing: it keeps wearers from touching their face.

Onboard Band-it supplied buffs in five patterns — the red, white and blue camo design, the paint splatter design, the rainbow fish bone, the palm trees, and the drive mask.

“My favorite is the paint splatter,” Gratton said. “My mom always told me not to wipe my hands on my shirt, so I designed a shirt where if I wiped my hands it wouldn’t show!”


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