VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — With the potential for another uptick in coronavirus cases in the United States, the need for personal protective equipment continues to rise.
Premium-PPE in Virginia Beach is investing $5.3 million to expand and meet increased demand. That also means new jobs in the resort city.
On Tuesday, Congresswoman Elaine Luria toured the facility alongside 10 On Your Side.
The CEO of Premium-PPE, a manufacturer of AmeriShield branded masks, Vitali Servutas says like many, they were caught off guard with COVID-19.
He says when they tried to order masks, they had a hard time getting them.
“We couldn’t buy anything in the United States. We have contacts overseas in China and we started importing them and it was very difficult,” said Servutas.
That’s when one of his partners suggested they make their own in Virginia Beach.
They were able to find a machine and, with their engineering background, got to work.
He says the operation started in a small room. Now there’s an entire warehouse full of machines.
“We were seven employees in the early days and now we’re over 200. So we’re adding more and more people every week we’re running three shifts as well,” Servutas explained.
Now, they make 750,000 masks a day.
The company was able to nail down a $federal grant and government contract along the way, too.
Luria says having an asset like this in Hampton Roads will continue to remain important as the virus isn’t going away anytime soon.
“It is incredibly crucial for our healthcare workers for everyone to wear masks to keep themselves and everyone else safe so having a reliable supplier of these right here in Virginia Beach, right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia is incredibly important,” said Luria.
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