(CNN) — A department store known for designer brands is shifting gears and producing medical masks to help healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.
Nordstrom, an American luxury retailer based in Seattle, is sewing more than 100,000 masks that will be sanitized before being distributed to healthcare workers across the country.
“Everyone across the globe is feeling the impacts of COVID-19 — including us at Nordstrom. During this challenging moment in time, we are looking at unique ways to help in our communities and highlighting how others can join together to make a difference,” Nordstrom said in a news release.
“We are the largest employer of tailors in North America, so we’re learning how to leverage those capabilities to help with the medical supply shortage.”
Members of the Nordstrom alterations teams in Washington, Oregon, Texas and California will sew the masks and give them to Providence Health & Services, a nonprofit health care system which operates hospitals in six states.
While Nordstrom is joining efforts to combat the medical supply shortage, they are also urging others who want to help to work with their local heath care services to produce masks.
Across the country, health care workers on the frontlines of the escalating fight against the pandemic describe shortages of personal protective equipment, widely known as PPE.
The scarcity of equipment is at such a critical stage that medical workers are being asked to do something that weeks ago would have brought reprimand or even termination: reuse supplies.
Along with its efforts to ease the PPE shortages, Nordstrom also said it’s closed all stores in the US and Canada while providing ongoing pay and benefits to all store employees impacted by the temporary closures.
The Nordstrom Executive Leadership Group is forgoing a portion of their salaries. CEO Erik Nordstrom and his brother, president and chief brand officer Pete Nordstrom, both say they are declining their salaries from April until September.
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