A LaPorte County factory that makes food delivery bags for Papa John’s Pizza and Wrigley Field has shifted its production focus on cotton masks for healthcare workers.
Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report California-based Sterno Products is sewing protective masks for workers at hospitals, nursing homes and restaurants at its plant in LaPorte.
The company, formerly known as TCB Manufacturing, usually produces insulated bags to carry food. But the publication says the company had built up enough of a stockpile of the food bags that it was able to switch to sewing cloth masks.
“It’s the culmination of seeing the need for mass for medical professionals and the general public,” said David Amirault, Sterno’s vice president of product development and marketing. “We knew we could do it.”
The publication says 30 workers at the factory are producing 3,000 masks a day. The company says they are woven, double-ply cotton masks. They are not the N95 respirator masks used by healthcare workers when dealing with COVID-19 patients.
“But what these do is go to nurses and other workers who are not directly working with those patients, such as the folks at reception and the front desk, freeing more N95 masks to go to those on the front lines,” said Amirault.
Sterno Products says it will switch production back and forth as needed between insulated food bags and masks. It’s also converting another plant it owns in Memphis to start making hand sanitizer.