The Big Apple’s garment district will this week begin manufacturing critically-needed surgical gowns for the city’s health care workers amid the coronavirus crisis, providing jobs for up to 500 New Yorkers, The Post has learned.
“Operation Local Production” was conceived during an Easter Sunday phone call between White House equipment czar Peter Navarro and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when the city reached out to the Trump administration with an urgent request for hospital protective gear.
Working with private enterprise and the National Council of Textile Organizations, the White House was able to secure a million yards of waterproof fabric from healthcare company Owens & Minor and within days have it on a UPS truck bound for the Big Apple.
The fabric will be sent to four lead manufacturing sites, including Course of Trade, a non-profit organization in Sunset Park which provides free sewing training to New Yorkers in-need, supporting up to 500 jobs, de Blasio’s office said.
“Our healthcare workers are heroes on the front line – we must use every tool we’ve got to ensure their safety,” de Blasio said in a statement.
“I’m so thankful to Peter Navarro and so proud of the New Yorkers who are coming together in this time of need to help others,” he continued.
More than 40,000 gowns will be made with the Owens & Minor fabric this week, before ramping up to a total of 400,000 by May 23, according to the mayor’s office.
Hizzoner last week sounded the alarm about emergency protection gear, saying the city had “barely enough” to protect its frontline healthcare workers.
The mayor’s office had ordered fabric from China to produce more than 300,0000 gowns but when that never arrived, New York officials turned to the White House.
Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, said the operation would help reinvigorate New York’s famous garment industry and ensure it had a long future.
“New York’s famous garment industry was all but destroyed by the sweat shops of Asia, leaving Americans defenseless in this new war where our weapons range from masks and booties to surgical gowns,” Navarro said in a statement.
“By setting in motion a plan to reinvigorate that garment industry in just seven days, Operation Local Production perfectly captures the spirit, speed, and innovation of a new Trump economy springing up swiftly in Trump time to combat the invisible virus. This is Buy and Build American at its very best,” he added.
Last month, White House officials sent protective equipment to frontline NYPD detectives just 16 hours after receiving an SOS email from the chief of department in an effort known as “Operation Blue Bloods.”
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