Two Delaware businesses have stepped forward to help first responders and health-care workers deal with issues related to personal protection equipment during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Jennifer Kerr, who operates Tiny House Vintage and Art, 53 N. Sandusky St., is producing clips that prevent elastic bands on protective face masks from irritating the ears during long periods of use.
Kerr has been donating the clips directly to health-care workers.
Tim Moore of Waterford Signs, 288 S. Sandusky St., was able to call laid-off employees back to work when he discovered his company could produce transparent plastic face shields that first responders and health-care workers wear over the masks.
Kerr said she uses a laser machine to turn birch wood into “S clips” – named for their shape.
The clips are used to hold a face mask’s elastic bands behind the ears, she said, preventing the bands from digging into the user’s skin.
She got the idea to produce the clips after seeing them online, she said.
Since posting online that she had the clips available, she said, “I’ve donated hundreds and hundreds to health-care workers. ... It’s nice to be able to do something and give back.”
Before the pandemic, Kerr said, Tiny House focused on custom signs and home decor.
After Gov. Mike DeWine issued the stay-at-home order last month, Kerr designed do-it-yourself paint kits to help the self-quarantined relieve boredom by creating their own art.
The kits depict a variety of scenes and are available at tinyhousevintageandart.com.
On March 24, the first full day of the stay-at-home order, Moore told his five employees that Waterford wasn’t designated an essential business that could remain open.
He said he told them trying to sneak around the rules would be a mistake, and counseled them on filing for unemployment.
Later that day, he got a phone call from a sign shop in Texas.
The caller said, “I have a customer and friend in Delaware that needs the kind of face shields I am making. Can you help me out?” according to Moore.
Moore asked for a photo of the shields. When he saw it, he told himself, “I think I can make these things,” he said.
All of the materials needed to make the shields are used in his normal work, he said, which focuses on manufacturing business cards, real-estate signs, vehicle and yard graphics, banners, printing, decal stickers, engraving and 3D lettering.
Moore called Delaware County EMS director Jeff Fishel and said he would have a prototype ready the next day.
Fishel arrived in the morning and took the shield to show his staff, Moore said.
“A couple of hours later, he drove back and said, ‘I want 140,’ ” and as word spreads in Ohio, I probably could do another 600,” Moore said.
“I said, ‘That’s a deal.’ And suddenly out of the clear blue sky, I had an order for an essential product. The next day I called my guys and said, ‘Guys, we’re back in business,’ ” Moore said.
Thanks to media attention, he said, orders began pouring in.
His employees have been working full time. He even added two temporary workers and may add two more, he said.
Each shield is handmade, he said.
On April 14, he said Waterford had produced more than 3,000 of the shields, catching the business up on all of its orders.
His workers then began stockpiling the shields.
For medical professionals in need, “We can deliver immediately,” he said.
Waterford can be found at waterfordsigns.com.
“I feel bad for all the businesses that can’t open,” Moore said.
“I’m lucky. If that one phone call hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be working today. It’s amazing that this thing came down.
“I’m very happy we can help fight this virus,” Moore said. “It’s very gratifying to know we’re helping to contribute to a resolution to this problem we have now.”