Virginia Beach company wanting to help Biden administration with nationwide mask initiative

Posted at 8:15 PM, Feb 26, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Biden administration is spearheading a campaign to get more masks to Americans across the country in the fight against COVID-19, and a Virginia Beach company wants to help with this cause.

Throughout the pandemic, News 3 has gotten an up-close look at Premium-PPE, a Virginia Beach mask making company. As of now, the company makes on average more than 1 million masks a day.

“It's amazing. Every day we come in here, we hear these noises and see all of these people working hard,” Premium-PPE Managing Partner Chris Dement said. “We want to provide Americans with safe masks.”

Dement told News 3 their company has provided more than 125 million masks nationwide.

“Everything you can see in this mask is made in America,” he said. “We've helped protect a big portion of the country at some point in time.”

Now, they've set their sights on a new goal.

This week, the Biden administration announced their plan of sending more than 25 million masks to community health centers, food pantries and soup kitchens.

President Biden said now is not the time to relax.

“We must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced and for God's sake, wear a mask,” Biden said.

A Biden administration official told News 3 all masks will be made in America. The official said in part, "both DOD and HHS are working as quickly and effectively as possible to ensure we are sending out high-quality masks that meet CDC guidance. We anticipate these should start arriving to the selected food banks and community health centers by March.”

Dement said they want to help in this effort.

“It'd be like winning the Super Bowl for us, because that's why we set up this factory in the first place,” he said. “We have produced and supplied the DOD with over 70 million masks, so we're sort of the easy button for them.”

Barbara Willis, CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Health Center, said the move will help groups like theirs around the country.

“Masks continue to be among the most important ways to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Willis said. “We can distribute them in our communities, where it has already been identified as key areas for health inequities [that] have been going on for a long time.”

Meanwhile, Premium-PPE hopes to team up to continue protecting as many Americans as possible.

“Buy American and keep American jobs alive today,” Dement said.

The Biden administration official added manufacturers will be announced at a later date after contracting actions are complete.

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