Edmonton IKEA donates 41,000 N95 masks to AHS workers
IKEA Edmonton donated more than 40,000 N95 masks to Alberta Health Services Friday, April 3, 2020. (Courtesy IKEA Edmonton)
EDMONTON -- IKEA is the latest company to donate boxes upon boxes of masks to frontline workers in Alberta to protect them against COVID-19.
The furniture giant's Edmonton outlet donated 41,000 N95 masks "to help protect our frontline heroes" in Alberta health Services, Premier Jason Kenney said in a tweet Friday.
Staff at the IKEA said they saw the urgent need for personal protective gear for doctors, nurses and other frontline staff — and decided to step up.
"This was an effort our IKEA Edmonton co-workers came together to make happen," said Dani Rohs, spokesperson for IKEA Edmonton. "We heard stories of shortages of N95 masks in other places in the country and our team here in Edmonton decided to see if we had any in storage."
They ended up finding a whopping 41,800 of the masks in storage.
Rohs said many IKEA workers have friends and family on the frontline in health care and were grateful to be able to help.
The masks were previously used for safety precautions in-store before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
"We were in touch with health professionals and found out the masks were suitable for use and could be donated," she said.
The massive donation is one of several made by Alberta-based companies this week.
On Monday, PCL construction gave 29 boxes — 800 masks in total — to Alberta Health Services workers.
A day later, Calgary-based Suncor announced it would donate 40,000 N95 masks to the federal government, to be distributed to Canadian communities identified as being "critically in need."
Other IKEA locations in Canada have also donated. An outlet in Vaughan, Ont. donated 60,000 N95 masks to North York Hospital and IKEA Richmond donated 9,500 to SafeCare BC.
Medical-grade N95 facemasks and other personal protective equipment are currently in high demand as supply dwindles around the world in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation looked even more dire Friday after 3M, one of the world's largest manufacturers of N95 masks, said the White House requested it cease exports of the product to Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said talks with the U.S. are ongoing in order to maintain the flow of goods and services between the two countries.