SAN ANSELMO (KPIX 5) — While money doesn’t grow on trees, in the Marin County town of San Anselmo, it seems face masks do. Well, almost.
Like many parts of the Bay Area, downtown San Anselmo is slowly starting to open up. Anyone who comes down and forgets their mask will have an option. Sara Robinson, chairperson for local community organization Age Friendly San Anselmo, says they have visitors covered.
“It’s not Christmas,” said Robinson. “It’s a free gift!’
The organization is hanging face masks to tree branches and encouraging visitors who need them to pick any mask they like to keep. The free masks are proving quite popular, with people of all ages helping themselves to a mask.
San Anselmo Vice Mayor Brian Colbert said while it is not a city project, the free masks provide benefits to both local businesses and the health of visitors.
“So anything we can do to take away the friction points, such as somebody is enjoying downtown and realizes, ‘Oh my God, I forgot a mask! I can’t go in and frequent this business.’ Hey, come to the free mask tree,” said Colbert.
The project hasn’t been entirely without issues.
“The kids were taking so many at first, but then they stopped,” said Robinson.
She asks that those coming to the trees please take only what masks they need. Some of the face masks are purchased with money from a GoFundMe page created by Robinson. Some mask are donated directly. No public funds are involved. The whole thing is on the honor system.
“I don’t know anybody that would have issues with the fact that people are trying to promote the use of facial coverings,” said San Anselmo Town Manager David Donery.
Robinson says the idea started in Europe.
“In Czechia, one individual started making mask and hanging them on trees. It spread through the country like a virus,” said Robinson. “And pretty soon everybody, especially in Prague, were wearing masks and proud of it.”
Age Friendly San Anselmo hopes to expand the “Mask Tree” idea throughout Marin and the Bay Area.