Some marine trade businesses in Port Townsend are shifting operations to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by people in the front lines of battling the COVID-19 virus in Jefferson County. “Basically, we love our nurses and doctors too,” said Gwendolyn Tracy, whose Fine Yacht Interiors business is usually devoted to fabrics for upholstery, mattresses, and curtains. Now, she and others at the Port of
Port Townsend are producing face shields and fabric face masks that can be used by medical workers or others in the community.
The work of these local marine trades is part of a national movement to manufacture reusable masks from cloth or other materials. Disposable masks are in critically short supply for frontline workers across the world, many of whom are reusing masks that were designed to be used once, then tossed away. The cloth masks, in contrast, can be washed or otherwise cleaned and sterilized for repeated use.
“There is an overwhelming and unanimous sense of support for the Port and for one another as we all work through this,” said Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Eron Berg. “This part of the community is highly unified in its objective to get through this.”
National suppliers of fabrics have also stepped up and are providing the raw materials for mask makers across the country.
“We stepped into the fray with what we thought was a helpful tool,” Tracy said. “We’re working with Jefferson Healthcare to help fill the gap in their inventory and protect our community in the midst of the crisis.”
For information on the community face mask program, visit
www.co.jefferson.wa.us/1450/VolunteerHow-to-Help. You’ll also find on the site a mask pattern and drop off locations accepting mask donations.