PATERSON, NJ — Back when the pandemic started, New Jersey's governor called on local companies to start producing personal protective equipment. This week, a New Jersey factory was approved to begin producing N-95 masks in Paterson.
The Protective Health Gear factory in Paterson used to make display stands for high end designer goods, such as Ray-Ban sunglasses or Gucci purses.
In a matter of months, they acquired the material, the machinery, the employees and the federal approvals to be able to make N-95s instead.
"Governor Murphy, we heard your call and we acted," said Dr. Brian Wolin, CEO of Protective Health Gear. "Just in time for the fall, the impending flu season and any COVID spikes that may occur."
Protective Health Gear, now the only company in New Jersey approved to make N-95 masks, will begin churning out N-95s at a rate of 50,000 masks per day, or 1.5 million per month.
"An N-95 mask means that the mask filters out 95% of particulates," said Wolin.
The company kicked off manufacturing Wednesday with a ribbon cutting and a gift to the city: thousands of N-95 masks donated to the police, fire department and school district.
"Paterson played a role in helping us win World War II because of manufacturing, so now the team here has returned to our roots," said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.