More Industry Companies Convert to Fight Coronavirus

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Two companies in the business of outfitting athletes and mascots have temporarily retooled to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Fanatics, which manufactures team uniforms for Major League Baseball and some colleges, on Thursday converted operations in its Easton, Pa.-area factory to the production of gowns and masks for frontline healthcare workers. The first 100 masks went to the factory workers themselves, but the thoroughly disinfected plant intends to produce 10,000 masks and gowns per day to donate to hospitals.

“St. Luke’s asked us for 10,000 masks” amid a nationwide shortage, Fanatics owner Michael Rubin, who is also a minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Milwaukee-based Olympus Group, the company behind the Brewers' famous racing sausages, has switched from making flags, banners and mascots to manufacturing as many as 3,000 face shields per day for local hospitals after consulting with medical experts. The company's facility in Orlando, Fla., is focused on producing 1,000 face masks daily.

"We tried to pivot the business a little bit and use some of the same equipment we use to produce mascots and banners to produce face shields and face masks for the medical community," company CEO Brian Adam told local NBC affiliate WTMJ.

Related: Bauer Hockey Shifts to Producing Medical Face Shields

Meanwhile, Herzing University, based in suburban Menomonee Falls, is also stepping up to help pay for all the face shields being made. They've purchased 100,000 face shields to be donated.

University president Renee Herzing said the donation was made with the school's own healthcare students and medical partners in mind. "We wanted to be sure they had the protective gear that they needed and the best way to do that was to support a new local supplier," she said.

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