AP NEWS

Textile mill leading push to make 10(m) face masks per week

March 23, 2020 GMT

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina textile company is organizing a national effort to produce up to 10 million face masks per week for healthcare workers as they treat coronavirus patients.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Gastonia-based Parkdale Mills Inc. is working with companies such as Hanesbrand, Fruit of the Loom and others to build a manufacturing supply chain for the masks. Parkdale is one of the country’s largest yarn spinners.

The National Council of Textile Organizations said in a news release that the companies are often competitors in the marketplace, but are banding together “for the greater good of a nation facing one of its most monumental challenges.”

Medical workers across the country are facing a shortage of protective equipment as they respond to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus.

The textile council said that Parkdale Chief Executive Officer Anderson Warlick worked closely with White House officials to expedite the process, allowing production to begin soon after the masks were approved and certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Production is expected to begin Monday and deliveries could begin in the middle of the week. The coalition said once it reaches full capacity in about four to five weeks, it expects to produce up to 10 million face masks per week.