Coronavirus: Mayor Eric Garcetti calls on fashion industry to produce masks for workers on front lines

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called on the fashion industry to help provide protective masks to people on the front lines, like grocery store and delivery workers who come in routine contact with the public on a day-to-day basis.

Garcetti announced the L.A. Protects initiative during a daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday night. The plan will put the City in partnership with Reformation, a local manufacturing company that produces a line of sustainable clothing.

The company is now using its factory to make masks and is actively encouraging others in the fashion district to follow.

"The masks that are produced in this partnership are not N95 medical grade masks, but they are designed to meet the needs of other Angelenos on the front lines," Garcetti said at the Thursday presser.

While the masks are not medical grade, Kaiser Permanente was involved in developing the design specifications for the masks and the design specs are now open source for the public to use.

Other companies in Southern California are joining in the efforts to contribute to this cause. AST Sportswear in Brea is doing its part as they switch from making t-shirts to making masks. The company aims to donate one million masks by the end of April.

"I have to do something, I have a big factory, I can do something," Abdul Rasheed, CEO of AST sportswear said.

This combined effort has also reached manufacturers across the country. The owners of a factory in Pennsylvania which makes the official jerseys for Major League Baseball have started to utilize their fabrics and facilities to produce masks and gowns.

Bauer Hockey usually produce hockey helmets, now it has re-purposed its facilities to make medical face shields.

"To be a part of this program and help us reach our goal of producing five million, non-medical masks right here in Southern California," Garcetti stated in his call to action announcement.
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