Factory workers helping to make protective gear for COVID-19 go home after 28 days

By ABC News

(PHILADELPHIA) — More than 40 employees who spent nearly a month living at the facility where they were helping to make protective gear for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic finally clocked out and went home to their families on Monday.

The crew at chemical company Braskem America in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, spent the last 28 days split between two 12-hour shifts as they worked to make polypropylene, a raw material used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns and sanitary wipes.

“There’s been a glow in everyone’s eyes,” Joe Boyce, operations shift supervisor, told Philadelphia ABC News station WPVI-TV.

The only outside contact the workers had came from watching TV and seeing their family members drive by with signs of encouragement in hand.

Boyce spoke of the honor he feels to play a part in the fight against COVID-19.

“We’re truly honored to be able to give back and support people we will never meet in some way,” Boyce said.

He said that in some ways, the team’s departure from the facility is bittersweet.

“We’ve almost been the lucky ones, I’ll say, for the last 28 days, because I haven’t had to stand six feet from somebody. I haven’t had to put a mask on,” Boyce said.

The group will be getting a week off to recuperate from their near-month stint and Braskem America will be increasing their wages.

Boyce praised health care workers for all the work they’re doing.

“First responders, all the people on the front lines, we thank you for what you’ve done,” he said. “That’s what makes our job easy to do.”

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