Workers are back on the factory floor at LA Apparel after four employees died in LA County's largest single coronavirus outbreak.
The clothing manufacturer in South Los Angeles that began making face masks during the pandemic was shut down by LA County Public Health in June for inadequate social distancing and infection control.
“Los Angeles Apparel has been allowed to reopen its entire operation after complying with all the mandates required by our department,” Dr. Muntu Davis, LA County Health Officer, said.
With 375 coronavirus cases among 2,290 employees, LA Apparel brought in outside help and new safety protocols.
“We’ve implemented facial recognition software for clocking in and out. Rearranged physical layout to ensure 6 feet of separation between all work stations. We’ve provided training led by physicians and registered nurses," Vincent Garrett, CHANT Training Academy consultant, said.
The consultant said LA Apparel is on its way to becoming the gold standard for local manufacturers during the pandemic. He said that includes providing mental health care for workers who miss their fallen friends.
“We have seen grief among the workers here. For the loss of life of co-workers and the loss of wages for the period of time. My team is here to support the workers," Garrett said.
The county said that's its mission, too, meaning more unannounced inspections under the “Safer At Work“ health officer order.
“They’re also screening workers for COVID-19 symptoms, something they hadn’t done before. Let me be clear, they must continue to follow the mandated requirements," Davis said.
LA Apparel's owner told NBCLA that he will collaborate with County Public Health to safely produce clothing and PPE. His newest team member says these essential workers deserve nothing less.
“We’re deeply saddened by the people that got sick in our community. Sadder about those that perished," Garrett said.