Promo Companies Continue To Step Up To Support COVID-19 Response
Businesses in practically every sector of the economy are retrofitting their operations to provide equipment to support the medical community and keep them and the public safe. Companies operating in the promotional products industry are doing their part as well.
Greenville, South Carolina, supplier Delta Apparel, Inc. (PPAI 188431, S9) has begun producing cotton face masks. It has joined a coalition of apparel brands responding to the urgent call that includes HanesBrands, Fruit of the Loom, Parkdale, American Giant, Los Angeles Apparel, AST Sportswear, Sanmar, America Knits, Beverly Knits and Riegel Linen. Once fully ramped up, the coalition expects to produce up to 10 million face masks per week in the U.S. and Central America. In addition to the production of face masks, Delta Apparel is also producing and selling non-medical-grade face coverings.
“We are extremely proud to offer the resources we have available for the manufacture of face masks to help support those hospitals and health-care workers on the front lines, as well as all Americans battling the spread of COVID-19,” says Robert W. Humphreys, Delta Apparel, Inc.’s chairman and CEO. “We have already begun production of the face masks in our sewing facility in North Carolina and expect to begin production in Honduras this week.”
Humphreys adds, “We are proud of our dedicated workforce who wanted to participate in these efforts and quickly took on the challenge to retool our production lines to begin making these masks and face coverings. Of course, the safety of our employee base is of utmost importance to us. We are following the recommended protocols within our facilities, including providing face masks for our employees to wear, implementing social distancing protocols, and increasing sanitation and cleanliness measures.”
Supplier Royal Apparel (PPAI 269959, S1) has also joined the coalition and is producing general use face masks approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The company, headquartered in Hauppauge, New York, has dedicated its cutting and sewing facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to produce the masks, which will be exclusively for the federal government. It is also producing non-medical face coverings for a wider audience.
In addition, Pacesetter Awards (PPAI 112642, S6), a supplier in Chicago, Illinois, has begun producing acrylic sneeze guards or barriers for use in point-of-sale or other environments where staff and customers interact.
Full Line Specialties (PPAI 241269, D2), a distributor in Surrey, British Columbia, is working to support Food Banks Canada and assist those who need food assistance during the pandemic. For every two non-perishable food items donated to the distributor for the food bank, the company will provide a custom cloth mask for personal use.
“My team came up with this idea that we launched late last week on social media as a way we can give back to our communities, especially to the people who need it the most,” says Sam Singh, president and CEO of Full Line. “With all the coverage about the rightful dangers of COVID-19, Full Line is trying to find ways to keep things positive for our staff, families and community.”
Singh adds, “This has allowed us to continue employing certain departments that are involved with the cloth mask project. It is our goal to minimize the temporary layoffs as much as possible during these challenging times. In achieving this objective, we have also been able to roll out an initiative that helps the local community and food banks with the donations to the vulnerable community.”
BibBoards (PPAI 732422, S1), a supplier in San Ramon, California, produces hardware that attaches runners’ bibs to their shirts without making holes in the fabric. The company has repurposed the products, under the name 4Ears, as attachment points for medical personnel’s face masks. Face mask straps, worn around the ears, can leave red marks and lead to discomfort. BibBoards’ 4Ears can snap on and off headbands and other coverings and are easier to install than sewn-on buttons.
Brian Goodell, founder of BibBoards, says, “I started to see people posting on our social media pages that they were using BibBoards as a face mask snap. I commented on it and the guy reached out.” It only takes two second to snap on 4Ears and they can be removed and used on any type of headwear. The company has already donated several hundred of the 4Ears snaps to hospitals in Florida and Virginia.
Find more reports on the industry’s COVID-19 response, provisions of the CARES Act, links to related webinars and further information on PPAI’s coronavirus information page here.