WITH THE ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, everyone has had to evaluate what are or what aren’t essentials as far as they are concerned. Multi-brand store Urbanize has put together a collection of items of what it considers new essentials. BusinessWorld had a chance to give these items — which include a handy little door gadget, a reusable face mask, rolls of copper film, and an air purifying necklace — a spin.

Pacsafe is best known for its anti-theft travel bags, but the brand’s technology is being used for another kind of safety for this season of the virus. The brand uses the antimicrobial properties of silver for its face mask. It has five different layers which promise “99% filtration efficiency against microbials and airborne particles.”

The mask fitted loosely at first but the loops that go around the ear are adjustable, giving a customizable fit. For something five layers thick, it’s quite easy to breathe in, and even has an adjustable nose clip. Other features it boasts of include the advanced silver ion layer (we’re guessing it’s the one outside, with silver thread), a high fluid resistance barrier, and an antimicrobial lining made with ultra-soft Modal fabric and Graphene that disinfects and reduces microbials. It also claims to reduce odor-causing bacteria.

Finally, it’s reusable and washable, and retails for P590 at Urbanize and Pacsafe stores.

Another new item from Pacsafe is the ViralOff Face Mask which uses a technology that can reduce 99% of viruses that could be building up in your mask because of constant use.

Treated with Polygiene, the Pacsafe ViralOff promises to hold 99% fewer viruses in just two hours. Its water-repellent fabric also ensures that you or the people around you are protected against droplets from coughs and sneezes. Additionally, because it uses Polygiene fabric material, the mask can easily break down unpleasant odors without the need for constant washing — saving you time and money.

The mask has a suggested retail price of P790, and is available in all Urbanize and Pacsafe stores.

The package makes no claims to being able to protect against the COVID-19 virus, but it does claim to reduce one’s risk by reducing exposure to smoke, odors, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, and allergens.

The gadget, a tiny little lozenge on a string, uses electrostatic purification to do its job. It emits “26 million negative ions into the air that push harmful pollutants away from your breathing zone, creating a sphere of protection around you,” according to a release.

It emitted a blue light when we tested it with cigarette smoke, but it otherwise did not beep in a panic.

A full charge can last up to 20 hours, and the air purifier sells for P3,490 at Urbanize stores and at urbanizeexclusives.com.

Coming inside a cardboard tube, the adhesive film is wrapped around another sheet of cardboard, which you unstick and peel depending on how much you need. You can wrap these bits of film around elevator handles, doorknobs, and door handles, staircase handrail, and even mobile phone screens, to control bacteria and viruses on surfaces.

Copper has been used since ancient times for its antimicrobial properties, and recent studies have shown its efficacy in defeating germs such as e. coli, and, surprise, even some strains of the flu (this according to a study from the American Society for Microbiology). “Influenza A virus particles… were inoculated onto copper or stainless steel and incubated at 22°C at 50 to 60% relative humidity. Infectivity of survivors was determined by utilizing a defined monolayer with fluorescent microscopy analysis. After incubation for 24 hours on stainless steel, 500,000 virus particles were still infectious. After incubation for 6 h[ours] on copper, only 500 particles were active,” said the study’s abstract.

A one-meter roll retails for P1,000, and a five-meter roll sells for P4,490  in all Urbanize stores and online at urbanizeexclusives.com.

Finally, we have something that allows us not to touch anything.

It has a sponge at the tip and a little foam strip at the back with disinfectant (you may be able to refill it when it dries up). The back opens for you to grab some door handles (it was difficult to jimmy a rounded doorknob open). Meanwhile, the tip has a little pointer that allows you to press touchscreens — no more touching grubby ATM screens or phone screens.

This sells for P390 at Urbanize stores and online at urbanizeexclusives.com. — Joseph L. Garcia