Firm client Ron Gerson of Louis M. Gerson Company, Inc. was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle regarding his company’s part in supplying N95 respirators to meet a skyrocketing demand caused by the advent of the coronavirus. The company manufactures NIOSH certified respirators at its factory in Middleboro, Massachusetts and had gone into maximum production schedules to meet demand. Here is what he had to say:
Ron Gerson, owner and chief executive of Gerson Co., one of the four major U.S. manufacturers of N95 masks, said the influx of cheaper, Chinese face masks caused many domestic manufacturers to shut down, creating the shortfall in masks.
To keep up with rising demand, Gerson said he began running his factory 24/7 last month, up from the regular 80 hours a week. His company has more than doubled production.
The Massachusetts-based company, which sells N95 masks to Houston-area distributors and retailers, received more than a year’s worth of mask orders in a single month, and is fielding as many as 100 calls an hour from customers looking to replenish their stocks.
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It’s difficult to predict how long demand for face masks will last. During the SARS epidemic in the early part of the century, the demand peaked within three or four months. During the H1N1 swine flu epidemic of 2009, the demand lasted a full year, Gerson said.
“It’s a very frustrating situation for us,” Gerson said. “It’s difficult to turn people away and say we’re out of the product.”