Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito Tour New Balance’s Lawrence Factory, Which Has Made 1 Million Masks

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito tour of New Balance’s Lawrence factory. (Courtesy photograph.)

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were in the Valley Tuesday when they joined New Balance chairman Jim Davis for a tour of New Balance’s Lawrence factory.

New Balance has produced more than 1 million masks in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the tour highlighted the company’s face mask models, including a new version being rolled out to consumers in the coming weeks, and a new surgical mask model for frontline health care workers.

Baker said, “As the Commonwealth continues its fight against coronavirus, face coverings will remain critical to supporting public health,” adding, “Our Administration remains committed to partnering with local companies such as New Balance to ensure there is a reliable supply of PPE to protect frontline workers and the general public.”

Nearly 100 New Balance employees are manufacturing products at the factory and a nearby distribution center in Lawrence, an effort which began in late March with the production of general-use face masks. The company has been supported by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Team, known as M-ERT for short, which provided support around regulations and labeling for medical equipment, as well as feedback on the demand for personal protective equipment.

New Balance will make available a new general-use face mask for the public, called the “NB Face Mask V3,” a three-layer, lightweight and breathable, non-sterile physical barrier face mask with a moldable nose piece. In addition to the masks produced directly by New Balance, the company has also repaired straps on 50,000 N95 respirator masks for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, enabling them to be used by their medical staff.

The tour also featured several prototypes the company is looking to produce, including a disposable, 3D-printed stethoscope.

“The incredible passion, industrial R&D ability and innovative thinking of our associates combined with our New England manufacturing resources enabled us to pivot quickly to produce PPE for frontline workers and health care facilities facing the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Joe Preston, President & CEO of New Balance. “We applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for establishing a strong and highly-engaged Manufacturing Emergency Response Team that has provided us with meaningful and expert guidance throughout our journey.”

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