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New Balance Will Make Protective Face Mask Prototypes in Its Massachusetts Factory Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

New Balance has created some of its most coveted sneakers in its Lawrence, Mass., manufacturing facility. Now, the company is preparing to produce face masks.

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the Boston-based brand said in a statement on its website Friday night that the decision was made to meet the increasing demand for them.

“The global COVID-19 health crisis has called on individuals and organizations to bring their expertise and resources to solve new and extraordinary challenges. New Balance has engaged its skilled and innovative U.S. manufacturing workforce to develop face masks to address the significant demand for these supplies,” the statement read.

Although production will begin in Lawrence, Mass., the company said it won’t stop there.

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“We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, [Mass.] manufacturing facility and hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon. We are coordinating our efforts with government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities,” the statement continued.

New Balance revealed the news to its fans on social media, sharing an image of a mask with “Made shoes yesterday. Making masks today.” written underneath.

Although this is the latest initiative from New Balance to fight the spread of the coronavirus, it’s not the only action taken by the athletic powerhouse. On Tuesday, through its New Balance Foundation, the company announced it has committed $2 million in nonprofit grants to support local, regional and global communities impacted by COVID-19. 

The announcement comes days after Nike revealed on its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday that it is working with the Oregon Health & Science University to determine how best it can help. One step the company is taking is the prototyping of protective face shields for nurses and doctors who are treating patients infected with the coronavirus.

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