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Joining the Fight Against COVID-19: How Companies Are Repurposing During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in detrimentally. Among those impacted are the millions of companies across the globe that have stopped production, been forced to close, and seen a great decline in sales and commerce. Nevertheless, in the midst of a time that requires essential supplies—including face masks, PPE, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants—at high demand, these companies are determined to serve the needs of their customers. Across the world, companies have shifted efforts and repurposed their facilities to produce essential COVID-19 products. This allows them to help slow the spread of the pandemic while continuing to make sales and provide employees with a steady source of income. In this article, learn a bit about the incredible efforts of companies across the world, working hard to repurpose and join the fight against COVID-19.


It is undeniable that masks have become a global “normal.” In many stores, restaurants, and public spaces, wearing a mask or other face-covering is mandatory at all times. A mask acts as a barrier that prevents a person’s respiratory droplets to travel through the air onto people and surfaces around them. Masks, which allow people to protect both themselves and others around them, are essential in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Many retail companies have begun producing cloth masks for the general public to wear. Among these include retailers of athletic apparel such as Adidas and Reebok, popular clothing companies such as Gap and H&M, and luxury brands including Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The next time you enter your favourite store, it is likely that you will see face masks available to purchase!

Face Shields

A plastic face shield is a piece of personal protective equipment that—although not a substitute for a mask—can be worn with a face mask to provide additional protection for the user. Primarily, a face shield prevents the eyes from exposure to respiratory droplets in the surrounding environment. Face shields have widely been used by front-line workers and other health professionals.

Bauer is a company that manufactures hockey equipment, including skates, sticks, helmets, pads, bags, apparel, hockey masks, and more. Their goal to provide protection to hockey players on the ice has now expanded widely. Since March, Bauer factories have been producing medical-grade face shields for front-line and essential workers. “We’ve delivered more than two million masks to medical professionals and we couldn’t be more proud to have such amazing heroes wearing our products,” their website reads. Bauer has also made available fabric face masks and an innovative face shield with a unique design that attaches to the brim of a baseball cap. To learn more or shop Bauer face masks and face shields, visit https://www.bauer.com/en-CA/learn-more-ppe.html.


In severe cases of COVID-19, patients may require the use of a ventilator—a machine that delivers air into a patient’s lungs when they cannot operate on their own. Across the world, there has been a significant shortage of ventilators. This happens in global epicentres where the number of patients requiring the use of ventilators spikes quickly, exceeding the equipment available.

To help combat this shortage, car companies including General Motors, Ford, and Tesla have shifted efforts within their facilities to produce ventilators and other medical equipment.

A ventilator being manufactured at General Motors (Business Insider)

Hand Sanitizer

To contain the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid contamination, frequent handwashing and excellent hand hygiene are extremely important. At times where it is not possible to properly wash your hands, hand sanitizer is helpful in killing germs and preventing sickness. Thus, the need for alcohol-based hand sanitizers has increased greatly during the pandemic.

Spirit of York, a distillery operating in Toronto, has shifted the use of their production facility to produce hand sanitizer in an effort to combat the shortage and growing need. The alcohol-based hand sanitizer, made with alcohol from their facilities and carefully crafted to follow the World Health Organization guidelines, is available for purchase on-site at the distillery for $3 per bottle. The product is free for seniors over 65 years of age, and for those who cannot afford it. All proceeds are given to local food banks to support community members in need during these especially difficult times. This is a true example of a Canadian company that has put its customers and community first, working hard to supply an essential that will help stop the spread of COVID-19. To learn more about how Spirit of York has re-dedicated production towards hand sanitizers, visit https://spiritofyork.com/spirit-of-york-re-dedicates-production-facilities-towards-producing-hand-sanitizer/#.

Across the world, millions of companies have joined the fight against COVID-19, whether it be producing medical-grade masks and other PPE for front-line workers, cloth masks for the general public, ventilators and other medical devices, disinfectant products, or other pandemic essentials. From clothing to face masks, hockey masks to face shields, vehicles to ventilators, and from alcohol to hand sanitizers, there is one thing that is certain: the pandemic has called for innovation and support, and many companies are now working hard to provide the COVID-19 essentials we need to keep ourselves and our communities safe.


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machines. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/15/21222219/general-


Featured image is courtesy of Skitterphoto

Article Author: Victoria Huang

Article Editors: Valerie Shirobokov, Edie Whittington