When staff at Huntsville Hospital reached out to MBRP to see if their facility could help with efforts to protect staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Martin Barkey said his first thought was, “we just build exhaust systems”.
But through some creative thinking they were able to get to work that same day—after picking up some supplies from the local Home Hardware—and build a plexiglass safety shield to help protect hospital staff.
“It wasn’t my insight by any means to begin with,” said Barkey. “It was my son and a couple of our prototype guys that said, ‘we could build that’.”
They’ve since built a second shield for the hospital and, realizing that it was something that other frontline workers could use, ordered more raw supplies to be sure they could meet that need, free of charge.
“Any local stores that need something like this for their staff or any health facility, anyone that’s going face-to-face that feel that their staff or their own person would be more safe,” said Barkey. ” It’s on us, no charge. We’d love to help out.” (If your business is in need of a safety shield, email MBRP at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
MBRP has about 120 staff members and even before they were deemed an essential service by the Province, Barkey said he “had let every single staff member know that if they felt safer at home, then I wanted them to go home and be with their families. Yes, we had a few that deemed that suited what they wanted to do, but the majority of our workforce is still coming to work. We wrestled with this a little bit. I know there’s mixed emotions about it, and there have been some derogatory comments on social media as to why a company would be open, but we have a lot of staff who want to be at work and they also want to help as well.”
He added that the company has “gone above and beyond any regulations inside our facility. We are super clean and doing our part with social distancing, completely washing our hands, wash stations all over the place. Each one of our staff, every day, has the opportunity if [they feel] it’s safer at home to please stay at home.”
The company does “have production going, we do have jobs that are able to be attended,” said Barkey, “but at the same time we are hopefully able to put more and more staff towards helping some of those that need just about anything… It’s not only our staff coming in to meet their needs, to meet our customers’ needs, but now actually we’re able to even go further and hopefully meet the needs of some of our local frontlines. It’s a small, small role to play, but if we can help out then it makes it all worthwhile.”
He encouraged others in the community to, if they’re able, put their skills out there to see if they can help in ways they haven’t considered. “I’m sure someone will recognize how your skills may be able to be used to make this a better fight against the virus or a better, safer environment here locally.”
Have you heard about other businesses doing their part to help during the COVID-19 pandemic? Give them a shout-out in the comments below!
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