Sewing rooms across the country mobilised into action to produce 100 million face masks

The Polish Sewing Rooms initiative will see 200 small-scale garment producers working alongside seven large clothing manufacturers to stitch together the 100 million face masks by the end of June. Artur Reszko/PAP

Poland has harnessed the power of hundreds of “sewing rooms” scattered across the country in an effort to produce millions of face masks, vital in the war against the coronavirus.

The Polish Sewing Rooms initiative aims to produce 100 million face masks by the end of June.

It is hoped that the initiative will also provide momentum for the Polish clothing sector to flourish once the pandemic had passed.Adam Warżawa/PAP

Poland, like most countries, has struggled to maintain supplies of protective clothing during the pandemic, and all citizens are now required to wear masks in public.

The 200 sewing rooms, small-scale garment producers, will work in coordination with seven large clothing manufacturers to stitch together the desperately needed masks. 

The masks will be dispersed across the country and will come with an affordable price tag.Dmitry Feoktistov/PAP/ITAR-TASS

“Today we need masks for all citizens and I’m glad what we will make them in Poland,” said President Andrzej Duda on April 16, adding that it was good that Poland still has “responsible entrepreneurs that not only want to earn, but above all feel responsible for the functioning of the country and the security of its citizens.”

Development minister Jadwiga Emilewicz who will oversee the programme, said that Poland was the last country in the European Union where “sewing rooms” still existed because most states had out-sourced clothing manufacturing to Asian countries.Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

The president said that the initiative should mean “millions” of masks will be produced each week, and that along with improving health security the programme should also create, or secure, thousands of jobs.

Jadwiga Emilewicz, the development minister, who will oversee the programme, said that Poland was the last country in the European Union where “sewing rooms” still existed because most states had out-sourced clothing manufacturing to Asian countries.

She added that she hoped the initiative will provide momentum for the Polish clothing sector to flourish once the pandemic had passed.

President Duda said that the initiative should mean millions of masks will be produced each week, and that along with improving health security the programme should also create, or secure, thousands of jobs.Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

The masks will be dispersed across the country and will come with an affordable price tag.

President Duda also said that the pandemic will force the country to re-evaluate just where personal protective clothing for medical staff and the public is produced.