Park City, UT, April 8, 2020 – New York City has emerged as the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and with an estimated homeless population of 60,000, including many at-risk individuals, virus transmission is a critical concern for many of these housing-challenged families and individuals. Backcountry has partnered with a Los Angeles-based manufacturer to provide 9,000 non-medical grade face masks to New York’s homeless population and front-line Department of Homeless Services workers in the next week. Additionally, Backcountry will provide 1,000 face masks to its own team members in its Utah and Virginia distribution centers.
“New York City is an important part of the Backcountry community and the news emerging from the new global epicenter of this pandemic is heartbreaking,” says Backcountry CEO Jonathan Nielsen. “Through our fundraising efforts, we hope to unlock the power of our community to produce additional masks that we can quickly and safely get into the hands of at-risk communities and the individuals who work with them.”
To supplement this initial donation, Backcountry launched an online fundraiser at backcountry.com/backcountry-donate-a-mask where consumers can contribute to a fund that will cover the production costs for additional masks. Backcountry will ensure the additional masks deliver to the front lines as COVID-19 continues to threaten communities in the U.S.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene guidance issued on April 2 reiterated that community members should wear non-medical grade face masks, which includes scarves, bandanas or any type of fabric that can be tied around the face. The New York City Mayor’s Office has identified a serious need for those products within its homeless population.
“In this fight of our lifetimes, we’re responding to unprecedented challenges with unprecedented solutions, and as the Mayor and Governor have said, we need all the help we can get,” says NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “As we continue working to address citywide, statewide, and nationwide supply chain issues, we’re thankful to Backcountry for its donation of 9,000 face-coverings, which will help us provide clients who may not have had them with these vital materials following City and CDC guidance.”
In addition to the masks earmarked for New York, Backcountry will provide 1,000 masks to its warehouse team members in Utah and Virginia, who are on the front lines working to ensure its customers are receiving the service and support they expect from Backcountry.
“The health and safety of our fulfillment, Gearhead Operations and corporate team members is of ultimate importance,” says Senior HR Business Partner Shawn Craig. “We will provide each team member with masks for use in our facilities. This effort complements the workplace health guidelines we implemented in March, which include expanded time-off and medical leave allowances, social distancing protocols and staggered shifts and breaks.”
Beyond this mask initiative, Backcountry is also working hard to help its local community and healthcare workers in need. The company will donate 400 Backcountry apparel kits to support University of Utah healthcare workers on the front line, which will include a daypack, fleece top and a pair of joggers.
To donate more masks, please visit backcountry.com/backcountry-donate-a-mask