Coronavirus: Canada Goose to start making medical gear for health-care workers

Employees work with Canada Goose jackets at the Canada Goose factory in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canada Goose is joining the fight against COVID-19 by helping to manufacture medical gear for health-care workers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The apparel maker, best known for its down-filled parkas, says it will start manufacturing medical gear at two of its facilities next week, including in Winnipeg.

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Wednesday the province is “working hard” to ramp up health care services and is asking businesses to help out where they can with additional supplies.

READ MORE: Live updates — Coronavirus in Canada

“Across Canada, there are people risking their lives every day on the front lines of COVID-19 in health-care facilities, and they need help,” Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss said in a release.

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“Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good.”

The company says it will start by making scrubs and patient gowns at its Winnipeg and Toronto facilities, and it expects to have the gear ready to be shipped at no cost to hospitals across Canada next week.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Province asks Manitoba businesses to help manufacture supplies

Roughly 50 employees at each shop will take on the work with the goal of producing 10,000 units, and the company says it will extend production to additional facilities as needed.

Canada Goose stressed that it is enforcing strict health and safety protocols at its facilities and has created a support fund for employees impacted by store and manufacturing closures who are not eligible for government assistance.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus — Manitoba to freeze rent increases, postpone non-urgent evictions

To that end, Reiss says he will forego his salary for at least the next three months and that it will be used for the fund.

“Our employees are ready, willing and able to help, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

“It’s the Canadian thing to do.”

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.