Austin nonprofit donates 100K medical masks to construction workers


100,000 medical-grade masks were given to the U.S. Hispanic Contractor Association and Austin Carpenters Local 1266 union by city leaders via a donation by the Austin Emergency Supply Foundation. (KXAN photo/Julie Karam)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler led a group of city leaders to distribute 100,000 medical-grade masks to construction workers Monday morning.

The masks, donated by the Austin Emergency Supply Foundation, are part of a “critical investment in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” a press release from Adler’s office says.

So far, the AESF has donated 320,000 masks to the Austin City Council, Austin Fire and Austin Police Departments, Austin Public Health and Capital Metro. This additional batch of masks was handed out to the U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association and Austin Carpenters Local 1266 union.

Alongside Adler, the Consul General of Mexico, Pablo Marentes, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council of Austin, Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, Austin City Council members Greg Casar and Pio Renteria, and AESF representatives were also present, helping with the mask distribution.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Austin-Round Rock area has about 70,000 construction jobs, and a significant portion of those jobs are held by members of the Hispanic community, the press release said.

“It’s so important for us to make sure everyone wears a mask,” Casar said. “The fact our city, community groups and this foundation can come together and give out tens of thousands of masks in the coming days is so important for community health. The virus is just as dangerous today as it was weeks ago.”

“Workers at Austin worksites were among the last to pause work and the first asked to return, putting themselves on the front lines and taking risks as our economic first responders. Workers should have the tools to maintain a safe workplace,” Mayor Adler said.

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