Yesterday, the Victorian state government announced face masks would be mandatory in Melbourne from Wednesday at 11.59pm.

People caught without one risk a $200 fine with few exemptions such as kids under 12 years old or people with medical conditions which make mask-wearing dangerous.

Sunday’s announcement led to a buying frenzy for masks and fabric to make masks throughout Victorian shopping centres.

Today the Victorian government announced an order for 1.37 million reusable fabric face masks from five Victorian manufacturers — Nobody Denim, StylePrint, NMBQ, The Ark and the Mask Project.

Schools will be the first to receive the reusable masks.

Over 20 million single use masks have also been ordered while the reusable masks are being made.

Around 1.2 million of these will go to the Department of Education and Training for use in schools.


Strong demand lifts ASX small caps

There are a handful of stocks dabbling in the mask trade and some of them notched up gains today.

The biggest of which is Harris Technology Group (ASX:HT8), which gained over 20 per cent this morning.

It had no news today but pivoted into selling hygiene products, including masks, back in April and shares have been on the up ever since. It is now a four-bagger since January 1 when it sat at 0.9c.

Harris Technology (ASX:HT8) share price chart


Online retailer Kogan (ASX:KGN) also sells face masks, as does Redbubble (ASX:RBL).

Redbubble sells products with independent artwork, including face-masks, which is the first thing you’ll now see on its home page.

The company tells potential customers these will help them express themselves even when they can’t show their faces.

An example of the range of facemasks Redbubble sells (Picture: Redbubble)

While both companies only recorded modest gains today, they’ve been big long-term winners from the e-commerce boom during the earlier phase of lockdowns.

Redbubble is up 140 per cent in 12 months, while Kogan is up 226 per cent.

Redbubble (ASX:RBL) & Kogan (ASX:KGN) share price charts


One of the more unlikely stocks in the face mask trade is hemp stock Ecofibre (ASX:EOF).

Ecofibre launched its own range of face-masks back in April, utilising the company’s hemp technology — a textile that boasts moisture-wicking, antimicrobial and thermal regulating properties.

Distribution has already begun in the US but Ecofibre told shareholders today it would begin distributing them Down Under this week.

The company also plans to double its mask manufacturing capacity during this quarter due to heavy demand.

Ecofibre made a slight gain of 2 per cent this morning.

Ecofibre (ASX:EOF) share price chart