Companies Transform to Help Provide Protection in Crisis


Covid-19 hit in March, giving the public, including those in the trenches fighting the pandemic, little time to prepare. Due to shortages in PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare professionals, some businesses with factory production capabilities have repurposed their production facilities to produce PPE for those on the front lines.

The shoe company Chaco designated their ‘ReChaco’ factory, based in Michigan, to produce masks instead of the sandals usually produced. A direct quote from the Chaco website states that “(d)ue to shortages … Chaco is temporarily pausing our ReChaco factory operations to focus on producing masks and other protective equipment for health care providers, essential workforce, and front line responders.”

Hasbro, a Massachusetts-based company, has shifted from production of board games to making face shields for frontline responders. Other companies such as Nike and New Balance have said they are working on similar initiatives.

Companies are not only producing PPE as means of helping others, though; Shake Shack is one shining example of another way big businesses are stepping up during this time of crisis.

Shake Shack is returning a $10 million federal loan, meant to help small businesses, that was given to them by the Paycheck Protection Program. They were able to get it due to employing under 45 workers at most locations, but returned it for “restaurants that need it most (right now),” according to their website.

Some CEOs and other business owners are also following suit, cutting their paychecks in order to make sure their workers are getting paid and not fired. FedEx CEO, Fred Smith, has reduced his base salary by 91% for the next 6 months, from $115,402 to $10,728 per month- resulting to a net pay of $1 per period after taxes and other fees.

People in industries such as service and entertainment, even on a much smaller scale, have been forced to change how they market and distribute their products as well.

Katherine Brice, a student at Indiana University, stated that “her mother’s Taekwondo studio, Brice’s Martial Arts, (in Evansville, Indiana) has had to adapt to doing online classes within a span of two days” due to the immediate lockdown effect with little to no warning in Indiana.

While also participating in class and maintaining an average of ‘A’s in her classes, Katherine has had to help her mom every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the production, management, and broadcasting of classes and lessons.

Katherine is not alone among students having to pick up extra responsibilities due to being home and families needing to adjust to a new economy. This puts a lot of strain on students who were not prepared for anything like this to happen.

If one has the means to support others during this unprecedented time of crisis, ways to show support for the community can include buying local, utilizing pick-up and drive-through options, buying gift cards, and making donations.