As the nation runs low on crucial medical supplies, one unexpected group is stepping up to save the day. A pillow and dog bed company did a 180 pivot and will soon be making a serious number of medical masks in Canada. They're already getting hundreds of thousands of orders.
It's been a strange couple weeks for Jason Zanatta, president and CEO of Novo Textiles. After many sleepless nights, the company has made an incredible pivot from dog beds to critical health care goods.
Zanatta told the Vancouver Sun his company will be churning out thousands of medical-grade surgical masks on Tuesday, April 7, and they're hoping to get as many as possible delivered.
According to Tricity News, Zanatta and co were inspired by Trudeau's call to arms on Friday, March 20, when the PM urged any and all manufacturing companies to pitch in and make medical supplies.
Just hours later, Zanatta managed to order two fully-automatic mask-making machines from China. According to The Sun, Zanatta had to act quick before border restrictions took place; he paid the $600,000 in cash for the massive machinery, and the first of the two just arrived Monday, April 6.
It's already being put to work; 100,000 surgical masks will be rolling down the line starting Tuesday, April 7.
While the company is currently focusing on ASTM F2100 Surgical Procedural Masks, they're considering the process of also making N95 masks.
*Narcity reached Zanatta by email for comment.
“The N95 masks (although humbled we were touted as ground breakers by some media outlets) is not likely anytime soon," he said.
Right now, they're focused on prioritizing health care workers on the front lines with Level 1 surgical procedural Masks.
"We may end up being the first to do N95 masks in Canada, but for now we will focus on the machinery we have to produce Procedural Surgical Masks,”
Proud of Coquitlam's @NovoTextiles and President/CEO Jason Zanatta for answering the call during these difficult ti… https://t.co/hA81UveYQH— Ron McKinnon (@Ron McKinnon)1586273775.0
The Georgia Straight reports Zanatta and his team worked "round the clock" to learn the complicated machinery.
If you thought that assembling IKEA furniture was hard, try piecing together a two-tonne industrial machine using Google Translate and instructions over Facetime.
@JasonZanatta Thank-you for stepping up to the plate - wishing you and your business the best during this challenging time! @CFIB— Janice Williams (@Janice Williams)1586231534.0
It's been a weird time for N95 masks in Canada. Trump tried to stop the manufacturing company 3M from sending the masks to Canada, even though many producers source the mask materials from B.C.
On Tuesday, March 7, Trump backed down. The masks are getting shipped after all.
Zanatta told The Sun he's also getting orders from the U.S.
"We wouldn’t say no to them, but we will be filling our Canadian orders first," said Zanatta.
*This article has been updated.