In an unprecedented show of solidarity and service during a global crisis, furniture and bedding companies and their suppliers have come together to gain approval from the federal government and related agencies to manufacture medical masks that are in short supply.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a worldwide shortage of medical masks to protect healthcare providers and first responders, prompting the U.S. government to issue an immediate order of over 600 million units to be produced by Honeywell International, 3M and Hanes Brands (See Barron’s).
“Our concern is that these masks might not be made and distributed fast enough to get to the front line groups and individuals who need them most – our first responders and caregivers – and we want to help accelerate the production if possible, because our industry might have the capabilities to do it,” said Tim Dolan of High Point, N.C.-based TDI Worldwide, who is spearheading this industry effort.
According to Dolan, the manufacturers and individuals from the industry that have expressed interest to help include Ashley Furniture Inds., Corinthian, Inc., Best Home Furnishings, Pride Mobility Products Corp, Serta Simmons Bedding, A. Lava & Son Co., Dennis C. Valkanoff, ESQ., Design Concepts Inc., May Furniture, Inc., Traverse Bay Manufacturing, Jomel Seams Reasonable, Customatic Technologies, Southern Motion, Inc., Creative Ticking, Fusion Furniture, Inc., along with TDI Worldwide and many others.
The effort has thus far received support and guidance from North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, as well as other senators and congressional representatives, to help navigate the process of getting approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration, to manufacture the medical masks, which require government-approved facilities and materials.
Dolan says, “We have commitments from companies ready and waiting to assess the specifications and requirements of these masks and, if approved, they are willing to use their domestic and international resources and contacts to produce them and get them out into the medical system.” He continues, “There is a maze of mandatory processes and approvals to get through, and we are very grateful to have the support from government officials across multiple states to help us. We encourage and welcome any additional support within our industry to further strengthen our efforts. These are challenging times for all Americans. The furniture and bedding industries and their suppliers want to do our part, however we can, to help support our first responders and medical staff in this great country.”
Inquiries about this industry effort can be directed to Tim Dolan at: medicalmasksforamerica@gmail