SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Many companies have had to suspend operations due to the coronavirus. Others have simply chosen to change what they do to help the fight.
"There is a rallying cry for any and all engineers to come together, manufacturers, and figure out a better, cheaper, faster way to make these things,” Nine Line Apparel CEO Tyler Merritt said.
And there are companies all around the Coastal Empire answering that call, suspending their own businesses to help fill the critical need for surgical masks that exists in the medical community right now.
"We're a custom fabrication company, so everything we do is normally custom. So, this is kind of what we do, just instead of awnings, this time we're making masks for hospitals,” said Jonathan Dedic, director of engineering at Coastal Canvas Products.
Coastal Canvas Products is cutting the material that seamstresses are sewing into masks. And at Nine Line Apparel, they have shift from making t-shirts to making something that can help spread the threat of coronavirus.
"Whatever we can do, whatever we have to do to come together as a country, we have to do it now, I'd like to say that in the near future, we're going to be able to produce and deliver tens of millions of masks. We're ready to ramp up.”
Nine Line is selling masks for what is costs to make them, 50 cents each, and giving many away.
"We gave away 2,000 masks today.”
While most companies have been able to keep employees working with the shift in operations, protecting the community is the overriding reason for the change.
"My father has been in and out the ICU in the last six months. If he contracts this virus, there is a 90 percent certainty that he will die, And it's scary.”
"Everybody knows somebody at risk, older. And it just feels like you can do something to help out those that you love.”