The Vermont Teddy Bear factory began manufacturing face masks last week to help reduce the shortage throughout the state. The company has been coordinating with organizations including hospitals and janitorial services to distribute the masks for free to those who need them, CEO Bill Shouldice IV said.
Shouldice said they have made about 2,000 masks so far, and that they have the capacity to make 700-1,000 a day. The factory is not currently producing any new teddy bears.
“My goal is to make sure that the N-95 masks are going to the health care workers and first responders and the people who are using the N-95 masks to go about their day will be using these masks,” he said.
Shouldice said that the management team is going without pay but the company is continuing to pay their hourly workers. The biggest limiting factor on their production, in addition to the supply of materials, is that under CDC and Health Department guidelines for social distancing only permits five to seven workers to work on the production at the time.
“We will continue to do it as long as it’s needed,” he said.
— Sarah Asch