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Uniform company stays busy making face masks

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By Lucy Chabot Reed

South Florida uniform company Zeidel & Co. has begun making and donating face masks to a local hospital.

“They aren’t surgical masks, but they fill the void with doctors meeting with patients,” said Montana Pritchard, owner of West Palm Beach-based Zeidel. “They’ve been accepted by doctors.”

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear “cloth face coverings” when out in public or in areas where the 6-foot social distancing guideline is hard to abide, such as in grocery stores. The main reason is that infected people who do not show symptoms can unknowingly spread it.

Pritchard said he tried to find the fabric and elastic to make the masks online last week, but all of his normal sources were sold out. Then the Americas Apparel Producers Network made additional sources available to its members, which enabled Pritchard to order the fabric and elastic.

“It’s really heartwarming to see all the small businesses who have no business now stepping up to help,” he said. “Our seamstresses are all working from home. I sent them home with their machines, the thread and all the supplies.”

His staff made their first delivery of about 35 masks to Good Samaritan Medical Center on Flagler Drive on Thursday. While they were making them, a yacht crew member came in to pick up a uniform order, spotted the masks and asked if they were for sale — a job Pritchard said he hadn’t considered.

So now, Zeidel will donate about 25% of the 40-50 masks the team expects to make each day, and sell the rest exclusively to the yachting community for about $7.50 each. That cost pays for the labor of his seamstresses and supplies for not only the yachting masks but those donated to hospitals as well, Pritchard said.

Other places such as nursing homes, assisted care facilities, and daycare centers that are still operating would also benefit from donated cloth masks that people can make at home.

Pritchard advised interior crew to think about any uniform needs now.

“There are so many boats here [in South Florida] right now,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had this many. When this is over, they are all going to want to leave at once.” 

He recommended the preliminary work be done now including picking styles and finalizing artwork. Then, when it’s time, orders can be filled more quickly.

“When the quarantine is lifted, there’s going to be a ginormous bottleneck to get it all done,” he said. “The yachting industry is very resilient and supportive of helping each other out. We’re going to come back.”

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

View all posts by Lucy Chabot Reed →

2 thoughts on “Uniform company stays busy making face masks

  1. philip may

    are you able to sell a cloth mask to individuals? i’m a senior citizen who lives alone and I can’t find any masks for when I go out to get necessities. you can give me a location and I’ll bring the money. desperate. thanks if you can help. Phil

  2. jake_leone

    There was a study that showed masks are 80% effective in preventing flu transmission. That doesn’t seem great until you run the numbers.

    The number are: Assume that one person, unprotected by a mask, can spread the disease to 2 other people before they realize they have the disease.

    If you put that into a script, and run 10 generations of the virus (a generation for the virus is an avg of 5 days). You find out that:

    – The society where people don’t wear the mask has 2 million cases of the disease.

    – The society where people do wear the mask has only 2,000 cases of the disease.

    If we all wear masks, if we all HAD BEEN WEARING MASKS, we would have fewer cases of coronavirus and coronavirus deaths.

    Masks are tremendously effective in preventing PANDEMIC. Keep in mind, this virus (like it’s cousin the common cold) could mutate. If you cut down the number of cases (by 1000x) you can limit the virus’s ability to cause another round of this PANDEMIC, for even those who were previously infected.

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