As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, some Texas companies are stepping up to provide equipment and aid. Here are snapshots of their ongoing efforts.
Masks and other personal protective equipment are in short supply in Texas, and reserves are dwindling.
Boutique suppliers and nonprofit organizations across the state are stepping in to help with the shortage.
Houston-based fashion designer Chloe Dao, known for her Project Runway fame, has been selling washable face masks. What started with Instagram followers and family members quickly grew and now includes people who work in hospitals and clinics all over the country.
“As the need for masks and protective gear for those on the front lines has increased, our team has shifted from making masks to the general public, and focusing on medical workers in our area,” Dao wrote.
While face masks are not immediately necessary for the average person, to medical workers they can be crucial.
However, Dao is not the only one stepping up to help. Other groups have also begun producing mask covers. Notably, Texas-based volunteer group Covid Rangers has been recruiting volunteers.
It is important to note that the cloth covers provided by these groups have not been FDA-tested and are not a replacement for the medically appropriate N95 masks. Instead the cloth masks serve as a reusable cover for the certified N95 masks to help prolong the usability of the FDA-approved medical masks.
With suppliers unable to work fast enough on hand sanitizer production to meet demand, several Texas distilleries have shifted production to help fill immediate needs.
Despite the company’s previous statements that its alcohol cannot be used as a hand sanitizer replacement, Tito’s Vodka in Austin has announced it will soon begin manufacturing and distributing hand sanitizer.
Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood, Milan & Greene Whiskey in Blanco, Still Austin Whiskey Co. in Austin, and Hye Rum in Stonewall have all already started production. And they all have begun supporting their communities by prioritizing supplies for medical professionals and first responders.
For those who do not have immediate access to soap and water, hand sanitizer can be important. However, supplies are still low and hand sanitizer should only be used as a backup because washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is a much more effective way to limit the spread of germs.
Texas, as well as the rest of the country, is still incredibly behind on COVID-19 testing, with an untold number of cases going unreported.
But a Texas company is working to improve test availability.
Everlywell, an Austin-based at-home testing company, initially planned to release COVID-19 tests to the public, however, early this week, its leaders made the decision to allocate the initial supply of COVID-19 tests to health care workers.
“We have made the decision to allocate the initial supply of COVID-19 tests to health care companies with workers on the front lines in order to get these tests in the hands of those who need them most urgently,” the company said in a blog post.
One of the industries that has been most impacted by the spread of COVID-19 is the hospitality industry. However, in spite of this, several Texas restaurants and chains have stepped up to the plate.
Dallas’ Front Burner Restaurants and restaurants within 8020 Concepts, a Dallas-Fort Worth restaurant group, have put in place free meal programs for laid-off service industry workers and anyone else recently out of a job due to the virus.
Additionally, Texas-based chain Hopdoddy Burger Bar has kicked off a “Pay It Forward” campaign in which patrons can buy one burger for themselves and donate — free of charge — another to local health care professionals.