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Brooks Brothers, Under Armour using factories to make medical supplies

protective face mask

Brooks Brothers and Under Armour joined the growing list of retailers who are using their facilities to make badly-needed medical supplies for frontline healthcare workers in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

Brooks Brothers is converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to now making masks and gowns. The apparel company plans to use the facilities to produce up to 150,000 masks per day on an ongoing basis. It will also be producing protective gowns.

Brooks Brothers said it partnered with leading universities known as centers for excellence for both textiles and technology in order to develop the prototypes. The company has been working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expedite the approval process.

To begin production, Brooks Brothers’ factory personnel who will be making masks are set to return to their jobs this week following a two-week precautionary self-quarantine. The company said it is closely following public health guidance and will enforce federal guidelines for sanitation and social distancing on-site at all facilities to protect employees.

Under Armour Inc. will produce 500,000 masks, 1,000 face shields and thousands of hospital gowns at its Baltimore facility, and donate them to the University of Maryland Medical System and several other medical facilities in the state. Under Armour workers are also handing out 50,000 fanny packs filled with necessities for medical professionals.

Last week, Fanatics the maker of official licensed apparel for all the major sports leagues, said it has converted its factory in Easton, Pa., into making medical masks and gowns for hospital workers. Fanatics and MLB are taking on the cost of production.

The company announced on social media that the factory has halted production of all MLB jerseys and now has about 100 employees working “extra distanced and in a very clean and safe environment” to make 1 million masks and gowns to donate to hospitals in Pennsylvania, with the hopes of eventually “extending this to New Jersey and New York.”

In addition, Nike said is working with Oregon Health & Science University on a medical face shield prototype. The company aims to start producing face shields (different from masks) to provide to hospitals.

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