Face mask mania: Manufacturers overwhelmed by demand after new COVID-19 cases

Face mask mania has hit New Zealand with businesses working until 1am to keep up with demand.

Currently, face masks aren't required for Aucklanders in alert level 3, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has "strongly encouraged" their use.

"Please cover your face, if you leave your home to access those services that are operating at level 3," the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.

For the rest of New Zealand, which is currently in alert level 2 until at least midnight Friday, masks should be worn where social distancing is difficult - like on public transport.

Planes are the only exception, with masks mandatory for those on flights out of Auckland.

But Kiwis have been keen to get their hands on face masks with supply already being outstripped by demand.

Countdown is restricting customers to one mask per customer and speciality mask producers around the country are already sold out. 

"We're absolutely flat out, we can't keep up," a worker at Petone's Hills Hats told Newshub.

Their business is desperately trying to pump out 6000 masks a day, but even that won't be enough.

"They're doing overtime - we were here from 6am to 1am starting early in the morning looking at getting some more machines and hands that can help."

But if you can't get a mask don't panic, you can also use face coverings such as scarves or bandanas as long as they cover your nose and mouth. 

Another option is to go DIY and make your own one out of fabric, just make sure you wash it with detergent in warm water.

Once you have one, just make sure you are using it properly; don't share, don't touch the front of the mask and remove it from behind.