CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As North Carolina moves into a mandatory face-covering requirement, a public-private partnership is trying to ensure Mecklenburg County residents have access to them.
At a Friday afternoon news conference, County Manager Dena R. Diorio announced that more than two million free masks will be distributed across the County through the vast networks of Charmeck Responds and the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD).
One million were donated to the County earlier this week from the federal government, with another million gathered by Atrium Health and multiple businesses members of the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC).
Diorio said getting coverings to those who need them is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“Awareness that face coverings are effective is one thing, availability is the other,” said Diorio. “Our goal is to provide these to everyone we can, starting with the populations we already know are vulnerable—the elderly, the Hispanic population, and African Americans.”
As previously announced on Wednesday, Atrium and the CELC want to be part of the solution.
“Earlier this week, I was honored to announce that Atrium Health, together with the several other leaders from the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council have committed to donating 1 million masks to those most in need across the Charlotte area,” said Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene A. Woods. “With the recent news of this number doubling to over 2 million, I couldn’t be more proud of the public-private partnership in Charlotte, showcasing how business leaders, health professionals, and government officials can work in concert to help spur our economy.”
In addition to the two million masks being distributed now, Diorio also said the Board of County Commissioners has appropriated $1 million from the County’s federal CARES funds to purchase additional face coverings.
“Again, we want to eliminate the lack of availability as a reason not to wear one of the key items we know will keep people safe,” said Diorio. “The County is proud to partner with the CELC and their contributing members including, Atrium Health, Bank of America, BlueCross BlueShield, Carolina Panthers, Honeywell, Lowes, Red Ventures, and Wells Fargo for their contributions. I also want to thank Novant Health for their efforts to distribute masks since the pandemic began.”
A distribution plan is being developed and will be available soon.
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