Surgical masks for city employees delayed in coming to Memphis

WATCH: PPE shipment delayed in coming to Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis officials told FOX13 they expect a delay in face masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FOX13 learned the City of Memphis will have to wait to get all of those needed surgical masks it had hoped would arrive by now.

These masks are important to keep first responders and other city employees safe.

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So, the city struck a deal to pay a dollar for each mask and bought 1.25 million of them, according to a contract dated March 26.

FOX13’s Greg Coy learned about 200,000 that was supposed to arrive Wednesday night by truck but the bulk of the purchase is caught up at a logistical bottleneck caused by the pandemic.

The surgical masks are for city employees who must work with the public in the battle against the pandemic.

“Even though it has been made and ready to come into the city it’s held up in logistics,” said Corby Marshall, CEO of Hawkeye Systems, Inc.

Marshall told FOX13 surgical masks for cities are what toilet paper was to the public when they feared the supply would below.

“You have people grabbing products that they may or may not need and all of this becomes a burden on the supply chain of medical products,” Marshall said.

“It is having an impact on the price it is having an impact on availability.”

Marshall told us the company found 225,000 masks from Michigan, about one-fifth of what Memphis ordered, and had them trucked to the Bluff City.

They should arrive before midnight and the company gave the city this first shipment for free.

“We need to make a bold move to make sure we covered our promises and make sure we would take care of those who we said we would,” Marshall said.

As for the rest of the shipment, Marshall said his company has worked through the spiderweb of logistics.

If he needs to pay for a private aircraft to bring it to Memphis, then he told us he will.