Icelandic clothing company, 66° NORTH is providing healthcare services with large quantities of personal protective equipment for use by workers treating COVID-19 patients. The firm has already sent Icelandic healthcare employees 4,000 masks and an additional 400 kg delivery of equipment including goggles and overalls was expected to arrive yesterday, Vísir reports.
The latest delivery of equipment is worth millions of krona, but investment company Stoðir has offered to cover the costs.
66° NORTH contacted its suppliers in China in order to acquire the first 4,000 masks, but is also working to manufacture its own. Speaking to Vísir, former 66° NORTH CEO Helgi Rúnar Óskarsson described the challenges the company was facing in its mission to provide healthcare workers with vital supplies. Although the company is used to producing protective equipment, it has never manufactured items like surgical masks and ran into problems sourcing the appropriate materials.
Helgi also commented on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 66°NORTH. The Bankstræti and Keflavík Airport stores and one of the stores in Akureyri have been temporarily closed. Helgi was keen to point out that despite these three closures, the firm has avoided mass redundancies. This is largely thanks to the government’s reduced employment rate benefit scheme, which Helgi describes as “tremendously successful.” The firm has also enjoyed an upsurge in online sales as Icelanders adapt their shopping habits to reflect social distancing guidelines.
This is the full Vísir interview with Helgi:
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