As part of the city’s efforts to protect vulnerable residents, four businesses have been selected to produce one million reusable cloth masks, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Saturday.
The businesses will contribute 250,000 of the masks to aldermanic offices throughout the city, and another 750,000 masks will be provided to the city’s Racial Equity Rapid Response team, according to a press release.
“Each of these one million cloth masks, coupled with the thousands that individuals have donated themselves represents the generosity, compassion and true spirit resiliency of Chicago,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
Barbara Bates Designs, GAIAU Product Design and Development, Silk Screen Express and The Will Group have all entered into contracts with the city to produce the masks.
On May 1, a new statewide order went into effect requiring residents to wear facial coverings in public when social distancing is not possible. As part of an effort to comply with that order, Lightfoot and city officials launched the “Chicago Together!” initiative, encouraging residents to make and donate cloth masks for others who are in need of facial coverings.
According to the press release, more than 5,000 homemade cloth masks have already been donated as part of the program.
“We are in awe of the ingenuity of Chicagoans,” Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “These vendors stepped up and changed their production and operations to make or source cloth masks because that was the need.”