Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers is reopening its three U.S. factories and will begin producing protective gear instead of suits, shirts and ties.

The country’s oldest retailer said in response to the urgent call from the White House and local authorities and health-care producers, it will convert its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories to the production of masks and gowns. The company expects to initially produce up to 150,000 masks a day on an ongoing basis, and will then also begin producing gowns.

Brooks Brothers has partnered with Stop the Spread, a coalition of volunteer chief executive officers working in Washington, D.C., and around the U.S. to catalyze actions and support the government in response to the coronavirus. It has also partnered with leading universities with excellence in both textiles and technology to develop prototypes for the equipment and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expedite the approval process.

“We consider this a duty, and part of our DNA at Brooks Brothers,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, Brooks Brothers’ ceo. “These are challenging times that are impacting us all. We are deeply grateful to the medical personnel at the frontlines who are fighting the pandemic, and we are honored to do our part and join our peers in retail to provide protective masks that our health-care system critically needs. I also want to thank our dedicated manufacturing employees who are returning to work as we reopen our factories to make this possible.”

Around 500 workers are expected to return to work to produce the equipment. Brooks Brothers was among the first retailers to furlough its workers after its stores were forced to close earlier this month. Since that time, nearly all retailers have followed suit.

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