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Greenwood Mills switches from denim to masks

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Greenwood Mills switched from making denim to making nonmedical-grade masks, just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a recommendation.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission, according to the CDC website.

Jay Self, president and CEO of Greenwood Mills, said in a news release that the company’s denim jeans production lines have switched to support efforts to cope with COVID-19. They are producing nonmedical-grade masks and hospital gowns to support conservation efforts of personal protective equipment by frontline health care workers and to supply masks and gowns to related industries and facilities that benefit from their use, the news release said.

Greenwood Mills produces materials for a variety of items, including military, tactical, uniform and consumer apparel brands, the release said.

“Our company has been weaving fabrics for more than 125 years and has been supported by our community for just as long. Now, when our community is in need, we knew we had to help,” Self said in the news release. “We are honored to be able to offer employment options to our sewers and serve as a resource during this public health crisis. If it helps even a little bit on both fronts, we’re happy.”  

A recent drop in retail sales of denim, coupled with the growing awareness of coronavirus cases close to home, led Self and his company to make the switch.

“Within days of making the switch, we had our first order with Self Regional and shipped on March 30,” he said in the release.  

The company made 30,000 masks in the first full week of production, according to the release, and at full capacity will produce 500,000 masks and 300,000 gowns per week, with flexibility depending on the demand of the products. 

The news release said Greenwood Mills soon will have a website dedicated to PPE production; in the meantime, companies and organizations wishing to purchase can contact the mill at 864-388-1975 or via email.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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