Georgia companies are supplying the face masks and hand sanitizer that will protect voters and poll workers during early voting and on Election Day, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced last week.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure voters, poll workers and election officials stay safe while participating in this election during a pandemic,” he said. “I am proud to get these critical masks and sanitizer from Georgia companies.”
Raffensperger took decisive action to protect people while ensuring voting is available to everyone and that the results are accurate and fair. He suspended voting in the Presidential Preference Primary, combined it with the General Primary, delayed it as long as possible, urged the use of absentee voting, helped recruit poll workers and found personal protective supplies, as well as making grants to counties buying their own supplies.
Early voting on the combined election began Monday and continues through June 5. More than 1.3 million absentee ballots have been sent to voters requesting them, with over 360,000 already cast and received by individual counties, the largest use of absentee voting in any modern Georgia election.
Raffensperger purchased 35,000 face masks for distribution among the 159 counties across Georgia. The non-surgical masks are made by Lawrenceville-based Marena Group with a design authorized on an emergency basis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They contain an FDA-approved Silvadur™ antibacterial protection to guard the user’s face, nose and mouth from their environment.
Marena masks are reusable, durable, and machine-washable up to 50 times without losing effectiveness, even at high temperatures. They are made with skin-friendly TriFlex™ fabric with 3D stretch for optimal comfort.
A Georgia company also supplied 30,000 8-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer for use in county polling places. Pretoria Fields Collective is a 3-year-old company based in Albany and run by a physician, two compounding pharmacists, a chemist and an agronomist.
When the pandemic forced bars and restaurants to close, the company looked for ways to serve first responders and keep their employees on the job by shifting the production of their craft brewery to making hand sanitizer following FDA guidelines. The company used its brewing fermenters to mix distilled ethanol with glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and distilled water to make a topical hand sanitizing solution. The formulation was validated by tests conducted by a lab in Camilla.