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Manufacturers Asked To Produce Personal Protective Equipment

City officials are requesting local manufacturers assist with the statewide efforts to produce personal protective equipment.

City officials this week echoed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for manufacturers and other businesses to refocus its efforts to help supply the state with items that are in short supply during the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak.

According to Crystal Surdyk, city development director, this could mean the production of N95 masks, gowns, ventilators, components for ventilators, gloves, booties or face shields.

“Any personal protective equipment and gear. There is an urgent need,” she said. “Also looking down the road, what might be needed as the crisis continues. Is it hospital beds? Anything that fills the urgent needs of health care workers, and what might be needed down the road.”

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said city officials are working with the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce to identify businesses that might be able to retool its efforts to produce items needed during the pandemic.

“It’s really a great thing to work with the county and chamber to help businesses retool and move forward,” he said.

Sundquist said it’s too early in the process to specifically name businesses and how they might retool to help with the pandemic efforts. However, he said several local manufacturers and businesses have been in contact with city, IDA and chamber officials about what they can do to help.

“Our office has had several companies step forward to ask about retooling and providing equipment,” he said. “We are finding out what they do currently, what they can do and what their capacity is, and we’re providing that information to the governor’s office.”

The IDA has encouraged companies to visit its website at ccida.com/covid-19-resources to fill out a short questionnaire related to manufacturing capabilities and/or needs, which will be shared with state officials. The information will be used to create a database for potential “matchmaking” within the county and region.

Surdyk said one of the main concerns expressed by local manufacturers and businesses is how to be deemed an essential business. She said there is a wavier businesses can apply for to be deemed an essential business if they have been considered nonessential and forced to close during the pandemic.

“If approved, (the manufacturer) can retool what they were doing and produce products that are contributing so they can become an essential business again,” she said. “The first step is to apply for the wavier and get them approved to diversify their product offering.”

Todd Tranum, Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce president and CEO and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier executive director, said local manufacturers and businesses are more than willing to do what is needed to fight the coronavirus.

“What we know and continue to find is many of our manufactures are manufacturing products deemed essential,” he said. “They are a part of supply chains to companies producing specific products deemed essential.”

Tranum said he applauds businesses and the community for rallying to the cause and encourages consumers to support small businesses.

“They certainly need the cash flow to stay in business,” he said.

Tranum said Empire State Development has listed products needed by state officials during the pandemic. He said local companies should visit Empire State Development’s website at esd.ny.gov to discover what is needed.

Surdyk said any local companies that want to find out more information about what they can do are encouraged to contact city officials at 483-7541 or jamestownny.net. IDA officials can be reached by calling 661-8900. Chamber officials can be contacted by calling 484-1101 or visiting chautauquachamber.org.

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