Gildan Activewear has announced its decision to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The company said it has joined forces with various business partners to leverage its manufacturing facilities towards the production of non-medical face masks and isolation gowns.

“We are working with one of our customers in the imprintables channel to support a cooperative consortium of major apparel and textile companies to help produce non-medical face masks to be distributed to support hospitals, health care workers and others battling the spread of the covid-19 virus,” explained the company.

“Both the design and textile fabric to be used in the production of these masks are being provided by partners of the consortium who are working in collaboration to lessen the major shortage of face masks.”

Gildan is also working with a retail partner to produce non-medical face masks, primarily intended for healthcare organisations worldwide – this initiative includes manufacturing the required textile for the production of these masks. It’s also working with another retail partner to manufacture isolation gowns to be distributed to the health care sector to help address the current shortage of personal protective equipment in fighting covid-19.

Glenn Chamandy, president and CEO of Gildan, said: “As an organisation, we are committed to playing a proactive role in supporting the shortage of personal protective equipment needed in the global fight against this pandemic.

“I want to thank our partners and everyone at Gildan who have been working diligently to get the required authorisations and plans in place to start the production of these much-needed items, and especially the facility workers who have volunteered to work to produce these products.”

The company has also received authorisation from the Honduras government to partially reopen one of its textile facilities to produce the fabric needed for the masks and gowns, as well as one of its sewing facilities in Honduras for the assembly of these products.

To ensure the health and safety of its people, Gildan said it has mobilised a team of experts to develop and implement stringent processes to protect employees who have chosen to come back to work on this effort.

“The facilities that will be reopened for the production of personal protective equipment will all operate under a strict biosecurity protocol developed, following government mandated guidelines and industry best practices.”

Gildan added that it’s having discussions with other partners in the retail and imprintables industry interested in distributing personal protective equipment, and has also communicated with other governments in the countries where it operates, including Canada and Honduras, offering to supply non-medical masks and isolation gowns as needed.