PARIS, France — French luxury group Kering is purchasing three million surgical masks from China to donate to the French health service, which is running low on some critical medical supplies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kering-owned Gucci is also prepared to make over one million masks and 55,000 pairs of medical overalls in Italy upon approval from the medical authorities in that country, where, on March 22, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that all nonessential factories must shut down.
Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, which operate factories in France, will also begin to produce masks there upon approval, complying with the “strictest protection measures” for healthcare workers.
They join other European companies that have offered up funds — or their own factories — to produce supplies needed by doctors and nurses in order to meet the growing number of coronavirus cases. On Saturday, luxury conglomerate LVMH announced that it would donate 40 million masks to France, while LVMH, L’Oréal, Coty and others are making hand sanitiser in their beauty and fragrance factories.
Kering has already made donations to hospitals across Italy struggling to control the pandemic, along with the Hubei Red Cross Foundation in China. The group has also made a financial donation of an undisclosed amount to the Pasteur Institute, a private French non-profit, to support research for Covid-19.