All hands are on deck as New York prepares for the “Battle of the Mountaintop” against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on businesses capable of doing so to shift gears and begin manufacturing masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment to aid healthcare workers.
“The cruelest irony is that this nation and so many others are reliant on China for so many of these products,” Cuomo said. “Many of these products in the normal marketplace were made in China, and now you have everyone shopping for PPE and ventilators.”
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Cuomo said that while it would take a company time the state doesn’t have to produce more labor-intensive items such as ventilators, “the gowns, the gloves, these are not complicated components to manufacture.” He said that most of the simpler items are made of Tyvek or paper materials and that the guidelines for them can be found online.
The governor noted that he’d be willing to “pay a premium” for the products if manufacturers could convert their facilities to produce the PPE, and the state would pay for that conversion.
“If you have the capacity to make these products, we will purchase them and we will pay a premium for them,” he said. “But the time is now. We’re not talking two months, three months, four months, we need these materials now. That’s the stress and I understand that.”
Cuomo said that the Empire State Development Corporation is handling this project, and any manufacturers interested can contact them by calling (212) 803-3100 or emailing COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.
“We will work together quickly. There will be no red tape, no bureaucracy. We’ll finance what you need to transition, and buy the product, and pay a premium,” Cuomo said.
“If you are in the garment manufacturing business and have machinery that can cut a pattern, this is a coverall, we’re not making a fashion-forward fitted garment.
“These are straightforward components, so if you can do it, this is a business opportunity, it’s a state need, and it’s a national need.”
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