Saukville-based company commits materials for 1 million masks if Milwaukee passes mask mandate

Rebel Converting’s new Milwaukee headquarters at 11225 W. Heather Ave.
Rebel Converting’s new Milwaukee headquarters at 11225 W. Heather Ave.

Last updated on July 8th, 2020 at 10:55 am

Rebel Converting has pledged to donate the materials to make 1 million face masks if the city passes a mandatory mask ordinance.

Michael Kryshak, owner of the Saukeville-based manufacturer of hospital-grade disinfectant wipes, said he would provide the materials needed to make disposable masks and help the city find volunteers to assemble them. The free masks would be intended for low-income individuals who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

Milwaukee’s city leaders are considering a potential city-wide ordinance that would require people to wear masks in public spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The full council is expected to discuss the proposal when it meets today.

“We want to make sure that affordability for low-income residents is not a barrier to anyone helping stop the spread of the disease in the community and complying with the requirement,” Kryshak said in a letter to the Milwaukee Common Council and Mayor Tom Barrett. “COIVD has disproportionately taken its toll on Milwaukee’s poor and communities of color. This is another area where we see racial and social-economic disparities that must be addressed.”

Kryshak previously spearheaded the MaskUpMKE initiative, which has worked to distribute nearly 3 million masks to more than 550 organizations during the COVID-19 crisis.

In his letter, Kryshak called on city leaders to help recruit additional volunteers to assemble the masks and work with other businesses and city resources to distribute them.

Currently, the city’s Health Department strongly recommends the use of a mask or cloth face covering, but has not required them. Businesses are allowed to require masks as a policy to provide service.

Dozens of Milwaukee businesses have called on city officials to require people to wear face masks in public spaces. They said it’s necessary for protecting workers and patrons, and to help customers feel safe about patronizing a business.

Earlier this year, Rebel Converting announced plans to move its headquarters to Milwaukee.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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