SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Direct Relief, a local organization, began delivery 100,000 masks to grocery stores and other businesses in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday.
Direct Relief hopes to support the people working during the pandemic and to help keep them safe.
The organization has delivered masks to grocery stores in Goleta and Santa Barbara including Santa Cruz Market, Smart & Final, Albertson's and Sprouts.
Direct Relief purchased 50,000 masks from the same Chinese supplier that manufactures the Direct Relief's distinctive orange NIOSH-approved N95 masks that were distributed to 1,300 hospitals and nonprofit community health centers and clinics nationwide.
The masks being provided to local essential businesses are similar but they do not have formal approval from the Emergency Use Authorization so they will not be given to healthcare workers.
The other 50,000 masks were given to Direct Relief by others who sourced from corporate donations, primarily sourced from China, directly. These masks are at least two-ply and in original packaging. They will also not be provided to medical settings because of no formal approval and no formal FDA approval.
Direct Relief's CEO gave the following statement on these donations:
“The protection of health workers with appropriate PPE remains a critical need and top priority that Direct Relief continues to address as expansively as possible through a variety of channels. But, essential businesses and their workers who have continued to serve the public also need adequate protection, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure they have access to masks and other protective materials to ensure their safety and that of their customers, too.”Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief CEO
Tighe drove around Santa Barbara on Tuesday delivering masks to all essential open businesses.