'We didn't have a choice': Alaska's businesses move to manufacture PPE

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Pre-pandemic, no manufacturers in Alaska were making personal protective equipment; today, dozens have pivoted their business models to produce everything from sanitation chambers to shoe coverings.

On Friday, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz spoke about 'easing up' in Anchorage and moving into Phase 2 of reopening, saying the only potential pitfall was the state’s lack of PPE. He mentioned in his community briefing that four pallets of PPE, including gowns and masks, were donated from Anchorage’s sister city of Harbin, China.

“The numbers behind the decision to move from one phase to another are based on the epidemiology, based on our health care capacity and based on our public health capacity, and we are green-lit in all of those areas with the exception of the personal protective equipment,” Berkowitz said. “And that’s mostly due to uncertainty about what supply lines look like and whether the supply lines will be as robust as we need them to be.”

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