Coronavirus News: Movie and TV costume designers now making masks, PPE

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Health care workers are getting a helping hand from movie and TV costume designers based in New York City, and those who make props are also pitching in.

Their latest production has nothing to do with show business and everything to do with the current pandemic. These show folk are using their skills to provide badly needed medical supplies.

It's health care meets Hollywood on the Hudson.

"When we got the news that there was this dearth in the supply chain of PPEs, we all sort of looked around and said we can make these," said Eva Radke, whose credits include feature films made in New York City such as "Alfie," with Jude Law, and "United 93" about events that happened on 9/11.

Now, she's on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

"I'm really glad to show that the entertainment industry is useful," she said.

A 3-D printer makes the frames for protective masks, and the marine vinyl used for the actual shield is fabricated by another machine. That's combined with other materials, such as elastic bands, and in less than a month, 5,000 finished pieces have been shipped. And doctors and nurses have responded.

"They told us they're more comfortable," she said. "They're lightweight."

Thanks come into her via photos and texts.

"I am humbled by their appreciation, because this our way of showing our appreciation and support of them," she said. "We're helping them help us."

Much of the labor and material is donated, and coordination comes from the New York Production Alliance, where Flo Mitchell-Brown is the co-chair.

"I love the camaraderie and the willingness to participate," she said. "You don't even have to ask people. They rise to the occasion because they understand how important this is."

Several different unions are involved, and Teamsters deliver supplies and the finished masks.

"We're going to keep on going until they don't need us anymore," Radke said. "Can't wait for that day."


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