PHOENIX – Companies are lining up to make masks after the Trump administration is now recommending Americans wear “non-medical cloth” face coverings.
Ortho Mattress announced it has reconfigured a factory in Phoenix, Arizona and is now producing 1,000 non-medical facemasks per day for essential workers. The company will begin shipping to needy customers on April 6, for the cost of shipping only. These non-N-95-rated masks are not for healthcare workers but to meet ever increasing demand by local officials for everyone to wear masks in public.
“Our heart went out to our customers in hospitality for the immediate need to protect their workers, and we now are embracing this call to action to support others in our community,” said Ken Karmin, the CEO of Ortho Mattress in a press release.
Last week, Governor Doug Ducey announced the state had entered into a new agreement with Honeywell to produce over 6 million N95 masks for the state of Arizona over the next 12 months. Upon production of the masks, the Arizona Department of Health Services will deliver them to county health departments for further distribution to health, safety, and emergency response workers.
The agreement follows an announcement by Honeywell that it is adding manufacturing capabilities in Phoenix to produce N95 face masks in support of response efforts to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The company anticipates that the new mask production line in Phoenix will create more than 500 new jobs in Arizona, for which Honeywell has already begun recruiting, hiring and training manufacturing workers on the site.
“We at Honeywell are moving quickly to expand our production capacity for N95 masks globally and are pleased to partner with the state of Arizona,” said John Waldron, president and CEO, in a press release. “Responding to COVID-19 is an all-hands-on-deck effort, and Honeywell is proud of our role in providing essential equipment to the first responders and medical professionals we are relying on during this crisis.”