68°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas company wants to mass-produce masks but needs supplies

Updated March 24, 2020 - 9:33 am

A Las Vegas window covering company is ready and willing to crank out protective masks and gowns for first responders and health care workers.

It is just waiting on the materials to do it.

And a Las Vegas distillery that normally makes alcohol is switching its operations to making hand sanitizer, which has been in high demand since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Polar Shades, a company that makes window shades, said it is willing to convert its manufacturing plant to make the protective equipment, but up until Monday it had faced issues finding suppliers.

“A lot of people are trying to price gouge right now, and now is not the time for it,” said Jordan Mevius, who runs marketing for the company. Her father, Steve, owns the business.

Jordan Mevius said Monday night that the company had ordered most of the materials needed. The company will need to sustain that supply, however. She said mask production is expected to begin once materials arrive.

The company has two high-speed cutting tables that can rapidly produce the protective equipment.

Steve Mevius said his business has the capability to produce more than 8,000 masks and 2,000 gowns daily, and more if he took operations around the clock.

Polar Shades’ offer has caught the attention of some public safety and health officials, including Dr. Luis Medina-Garcia, an infectious disease physician at University Medical Center.

The company has the capability to supply masks broadly but has first set its focus on home.

“Our first concern and priority is for the state of Nevada,” Jordan Mevius said.

North Las Vegas Fire Chief Joseph Calhoun said Henderson Fire Chief Shawn White contacted other valley fire departments about the company last week.

Calhoun said his department is limiting the amount of people who have access to possible COVID-19 patients to conserve protective equipment, he said.

He said the department’s current mask supply should last several weeks.

“But you know, obviously, we can’t just plan for several weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile, another company has plenty of at least one ingredient it needs to retool for the epidemic.

Katalin Racz, owner of Las Vegas Distillery, said her company pivoted to making hand sanitizer since it has a hefty supply of the main ingredient, alcohol.

“We ordered already the other two ingredients, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide,” she said, adding that those are the required ingredients based on the World Health Organization’s standards. “That’s what we need to make the hand sanitizer, and it’s pretty, pretty difficult right now to source it.”

Racz said she placed an order Thursday with a supplier for the two ingredients but is still waiting on a shipment confirmation. Once she receives the items, she’ll be able to employ some of her staff to help make the hand sanitizer.

“The city already put a hold on 5,000 16-ounce bottles because they want to give it to the first responders,” Racz said. “Whatever is left is for the public, but we can make enough. We are happy to help out the community, especially in these dire times.”

For now, she’s waiting to receive the items but said as soon as the product is ready, she’ll begin carrying it at the distillery, where customers can pick up the hand sanitizer.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Subrina Hudson contributed to this story.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Allegiant burning over $2M per day, many workers on leave with half pay - VIDEO
Allegiant Air’s parent is burning through at least $2 million in cash per day and hundreds of workers are taking two-month leave at half pay as the carrier grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small business owners talk about shutdown impact
Small business owners talk about shutdown impact. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Top stories Friday April 3, 2020
Rj Business reporters Bailey Schulz, Subrina Hudson and Eli Segall talk about the top trending stories at the Review-Journal
Caesars furloughing about 90% of US workers
The furloughs come amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted all U.S. commercial casinos to temporarily shut their doors.
Amazon blocks sale of N95 masks to public - VIDEO
Amazon established a new section of its website where U.S.-accredited hospitals or state or federal agencies can apply for supplies. N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves and large-volume sanitizers are among the restricted items. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cars line up for over 4 miles for food
Cars were lined up along Sahara Avenue from Palace Station to South Rainbow Boulevard for food distribution sponsored by Three Square and Central Church in Henderson.
US weekly jobless claims jump to 6.6 million - VIDEO
The U.S. Labor Department reported 6.6 million people filed for unemployment insurance in the past week. A reported 10 million people have filed over the past two weeks. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
When will self-employed get unemployment money in Nevada? - VIDEO
President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act into law March 27. It allows states to expand unemployment insurance benefits, including to independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Free Business Updates
For more information head to: https://www.reviewjournal.com/vegas-business-updates/
Walmart’s new safety measures at stores: Checking temperatures - VIDEO
In an effort to intensify safety measures in their stores, Walmart and Sam’s Club will check the temperatures of all employees as they arrive for work. (Kevin Cannon / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Macy’s to furlough majority of 130,000 employees amid coronavirus closures - VIDEO
On March 30, Macy’s Inc. announced their decision to furlough a majority of their employees and instead move to the “absolute minimum workforce needed.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal
An empty Las Vegas Strip from the air - Drone Video
For the first time in forever, the famed Las Vegas Strip is closed for business amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada construction continues as coronavirus spreads
When Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada businesses closed, he let construction workers stay on the job, deeming homebuilding and other construction “essential” lines of work.
US weekly jobless claims soar to record-breaking 3.28M - VIDEO
The U.S. Department of Labor released the shattering numbers on Thursday. Jobless claims had been as low as 282,000 the previous week. The 3.28 million jobless claims for last week is more than double the 1.5 million new claims that analysts were expecting. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Worker at Allegiant Stadium tests positive for COVID-19
Construction of Allegiant Stadium is unlikely to affected by the coronavirus outbreak that is having an impact on just about every industry across the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Casino companies burning through millions daily
RJ reporter Bailey Schulz talks about how much Las Vegas Casino companies are losing and how the Emergency bill could help if they run out of money or need help recouping what was lost.
Albertsons, Walmart, Amazon increase pay amid coronavirus impact - VIDEO
Grocery stores and other retailers have raised employee pay as they work to meet customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police tells nonessential businesses to respect the shutdown - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reminds businesses in Clark County that all nonessential businesses are to be shut down as mandated by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, due to the coronavirus crises. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Amazon Prime delays are now as long as a month - VIDEO
As of Sunday, many nonessential items ordered with Prime delivery are showing an April 21 delivery date. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fed announces unprecedented actions to stabilize markets - VIDEO
The Federal Reserve announced several new measures on Monday. Among the announced programs is a further commitment of $300 billion "supporting the flow of credit" for Main Street businesses. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lee’s Discount Liquor stores close on Sunday - VIDEO
Lee’s Discount Liquor stores across the Las Vegas Valley closed at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22, the company announced on Twitter. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local Businesses Message To Customers After Closing - Video
Local movie theaters and stores leave signs on their doors for customers as businesses close after being ordered to shut down.
Valley businesses react to mandatory order to shut down - VIDEO
All non-essential businesses in the Las Vegas Valley have to shut down. We spoke with store owners who would remain open for the benefit of the community and others who were still confused as to why they had to close. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada casino closures impact 206K workers, AGA finds - VIDEO
About 206,000 direct casino employees in Nevada are without work after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Tuesday mandate, according to the American Gaming Association. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More Las Vegas Valley grocery stores offer early hours for seniors - VIDEO
A growing list of Las Vegas Valley retailers are offering special shopping hours for seniors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada casinos closing for 30 days following state order - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s unprecedented order on nonessential Nevada businesses will shut down 440 licensed casinos. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wynn CEO and Dr. Rebecca Katz go over coronavirus - Video
The Wynn CEO Matt Maddox and Dr. Rebecca Katz give a warning about the coronavirus in Las Vegas and around the world.
The Bellagio casino floor cleared as guests get ready to leave hotel - VIDEO
The Bellagio casino floor cleared as guests get ready to leave hotel (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists upset with MGM Resorts' lack of closure notice - VIDEO
Tourists like David and Emma Walker, who are visiting from Scotland, found out about MGM Resorts' property closures through Google, instead of the Luxor where they are currently staying. The Walkers are upset with how MGM has handled the situation by not making their customers aware of the closures first. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
All Las Vegas MGM casinos, hotels to temporarily close - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International announced Sunday it is temporarily suspending operations at all Las Vegas properties “until further notice” effective Tuesday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
S&P 500 rises 2% amid unsettled world trading

Trading remained unsettled around the world, with Asian stock markets mixed and European indexes down. A day before, a big gain for the S&P 500 suddenly vanished.