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Coquitlam company retools, will be first in Canada to produce N95 respirators | April 7

Jason Zanatta is saving lives, and saving jobs.

The Coquitlam-based producer of pillows and dog beds is poised to become the first manufacturer of N95 respirators in Canada. Production of medical-grade surgical masks starts on Tuesday, and he anticipates production of N95 respirators will begin within two weeks.

“It’s what I had to do to survive, and trying to be a decent human being and trying to help out in this crisis,” said Zanatta, president and CEO of Novo Textiles. “It was either that or close my business.”

It’s been a wild three weeks since Zanatta looked out over the floor of his 20,000-sq.-ft. Coquitlam factory, agonizing about how to save his business. Dog beds and pillows were not what people were shopping for during a pandemic. When COVID-19 isolation mandates were announced, orders dried up quickly.

Zanatta, who is immune-compromised and the father of two young sons, heard Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call to action on March 20 asking businesses to mobilize to manufacture personal protective equipment.

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