SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With COVID-19 cases rising in Los Angeles County, the demand for face coverings is also increasing but health officials are upholding the closure of mask-maker Los Angeles Apparel after more than 300 workers contracted the virus, resulting in the death of four people.
The South L.A. business will remain closed until it meets health and safety standards set by the county to keep workers safe from the virus.
When the pandemic hit the region, L.A. Apparel hoped to meet a vital need by making about 100,000 face coverings per week. But with hundreds of employees working in close quarters, the virus eventually worked its way into the factory.
"Business owners and operators must take their employee health needs seriously and they must heed the public health directives. Because as we've reopened, we've seen the sharpest increase in workplace outbreaks," said county public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer during a press conference Monday.
Ferrer said the facility has been shut down for violating pandemic safety protocols and won't be allowed to reopen until it comes into compliance.
The owner of LA Apparel tells Eyewitness News the company has been testing employees for the past five weeks and checking the temperatures of all workers before they were allowed inside the building.
Though many of the infected workers were making masks, Ferrer isn't worried that the virus would spread to the people who received those masks.
"It's highly unlikely that there would be transmission but I want to remind everybody that, whether you're purchasing a mask or other clothing, it's always helpful to please wash anything you do purchase... before you use them," she added.