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Mayor's mask mandate leads to surge in demand for PPE in capitol area

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BATON ROUGE- Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's mask mandate is creating a surge in demand for masks and other personal protection equipment in Baton Rouge.

Workers at Lyons Specialty, a wholesale supplier in Port Allen, are preparing to ship boxes full of masks to local businesses.

"We've certainly seen an uptick in orders for masks. Whether it be a disposable mask, a kN95, or an N95. It just depends on what grade of mask that you want," owner Hugh Raetzsch said.

Raetzsch has seen a surge in mask orders since Mayor Broome's mask mandate nearly a week ago. About 150 mask orders have been placed since then. Gloves and wipes have become hot items as well.

"Since the Mayor's mandate has been in place we've certainly seen a rise in the mask orders. We've also seen an uptick in things like gloves and wipes," Raetzsch said.

BRAC teamed up with Lyons to create this protective gear marketplace, giving local businesses easily accessible supplies that will protect its employees at competitive rates. An order of 50 disposable masks goes for $50.

"There are businesses who have come over to get access through this PPE marketplace to be able to be open in Baton Rouge. We've had orders ranging from as big as 14,000 dollar orders for masks to somebody who comes up and buys one box of masks," BRAC President Adam Knapp said.

Since face masks are mandatory inside of all businesses in Baton Rouge and unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge, Raetzsch says he doesn't expect the demand to stop anytime soon.

"It's something that we have to get used to doing. It certainly has shown that it protects everyone and cuts down the spread. At this point in time that's the most important thing to keep us all healthy," Raetzsch said.

Raetzsch says they've received a total of more than 600 orders for PPE since they opened up the marketplace two months ago.


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