Friday Five Roundup: Company Good Will and PR During COVID-19 [Part II]

By: Dahlia Farhat

As the spread of the coronavirus continues to rapidly increase, once crowded streets are now eerily empty. While people are still technically allowed to go out, social distancing must be taken seriously. Officials recommend to engage in activities that one can do alone or to keep at least a 6 feet distance between you and others. You can go out for a walk, run, or go to the grocery store. However, hosting a spring BBQ or playing a game of basketball with your friends is not acceptable. It is highly recommended that people stay in their homes as much as possible and only go out when necessary. Nevertheless, at this time, we are also seeing creativity, generosity, and organizations putting their tools to use, or commoditizing their services. Here is this week’s list of companies' change in offerings to the public during this crisis.

1. Canada Goose Making Personal Protective Equipment

On March 25th, Canada Goose announced that the company will be leveraging it’s manufacturing facilities to begin the production of medical gear for healthcare workers and patients during the fight against COVID-19. They will be focusing on manufacturing medical gear that is in low supply across Canada. They have announced that they will start producing scrubs and patient gowns beginning the week of March 30 and distribute them locally to hospitals at no cost. Canada Goose is committed to producing this medical gear starting at two of their major manufacturing facilities in Toronto and Winnipeg. They also are willing to produce this gear in additional manufacturing facilities as needed. Approximately 50 employees will work at each facility with an initial goal of mass producing 10, 000 units. Dani Reiss, President & CEO, Canada Goose said “Across Canada, there are people risking their lives every day on the frontlines of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities, and they need help. Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good. Our employees are ready, willing and able to help, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s the Canadian thing to do.”

2. Companies Making Sanitizers

As the rise of the coronavirus continues to serve as a threat to the public, distilleries across North America are finding ways to serve people and communities: and that is by using their facilities and high-proof alcohol to produce sanitizer. With shortages in hand-sanitizer rising, many reports have been made concerning distillers across Canada, putting their equipment to use in order to help out front-line workers who are in need and so that we don’t run out of any shortages. Distillers are able to manufacture the product because the key to sanitizer is alcohol, and according to the CDC hand sanitizer is only effective when 60% of the product should consist of alcohol. In Ontario, distilleries in Windsor, Perth, and Toronto have committed to contribute to the cause. Below is a detailed list of distilleries who have added hand sanitizer to their production line:
  • The Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. distillery in Walkerville: Has been in business for over 160 years and has added hand sanitizer to their production line on March 19. They also will be donating their finished product.
  • Top Shelf Distillers in Perth: Publicly announced that they will be producing sanitizers by closely following the formula outlined by the World Health Organization.
  • The Spirit of York distillery: Focusing on delivering their production of hand sanitizers to local residents in need. Specifically, offering free hand sanitizer to individuals over 65 and people are unable to afford it.
  • The Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg: Shifted some of its production to hand sanitizers but still open for business taking online orders. Sanitizers will be sold for $5 each. Proceeds will go to the Lunenburg Fishermen's Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.
  • Stumbletown Distillery: Victoria Distillers: They are working with a local cosmetics business,Nezza Naturals, in order to figure out how to convert leftover alcoholic byproduct from the distilling process into hand sanitizer.
  • Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in Pennsylvania: Were the first to start this initiative. They have been filling bottles with their new sanitizer since March 16.

In addition, other than distilleries who have committed to contribute to this cause, Estée Lauder has also jumped aboard. Estée Lauder has reopened their Melville, New York manufacturing facility just for the production of hand sanitizer. Their new hand sanitizer will be specifically donated to high-need groups in populations, such as front-line medical staff. Their UK-based Whitman manufacturing facility has also started making the product and donating it to frontline workers as well. Estée Lauder publicly announced that as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, they will continue to align their philanthropic resources to emerging needs, prioritizing food, medical and emergency assistance.

3. Dyson making Ventilators

During the last week of March, Dyson, the British company known for its innovative vacuums and hair dryers, has decided to step up in the fight against the coronavirus. Founder of Dyson, Sir James Dyson announced that the company has designed a ventilator in 10 days to help with the shortage of ventilators needed to save the lives of those with extreme cases of COVID-19. The newly invested ventilator is called the CoVent, which was designed by leveraging Dyson’s existing digital monitor, which has the technology optimized for safety and efficiency. In order to get the project going, Dayon collaborated with the Technology Partnership. They hope to start producing the CoVent ventilators in the coming weeks. However, they are still waiting for approval from the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). James Dyson wrote:
“ The CoVent is designed to address the specific clinical needs of COVID-19 patients, and it is suited to a variety of clinical settings. The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production.”

The government has placed orders for 10, 000 CoVent ventilators. In addition, Dayson said he will be donating an additional 5000 CoVent ventilators to the “international effort,” 1000 of which will go to the United Kingdom.

4. Restaurants Offering Free Food

To show appreciation to the countless health care workers who are continuously working to treat those who have the novel coronavirus, several restaurants and fast foods chains have offered to free food and drink to these individuals.

Below is a list of restaurants/ fast food chains participating in this initiative:
  • Krispy Kreme: Giving free dozens of donuts every Monday through mid-May to healthcare workers.
  • Tim Hortons: Delivering free coffee to front line workers.
  • Chipotle: Giving 100,000 free burritos to healthcare workers on April 2 (National Burrito Day).
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Giving 100,000 smoothies to first responders.
  • Sweetgreen: Delivering free salads to healthcare workers, and has raised enough money to donate 100,000 meals to healthcare workers.
  • Circle K: Offering free coffee, tea, and Polar Pop Fountain drinks till the end of April to frontline workers.
  • Starbucks: Offering first responders or frontline workers a free tall brewed coffee till May 3.
  • Nando’s: Giving hospital workers free meals and delivering meals to hospitals once a day.

5. Free Little Library Expanded to include Food

The Free Little Library “take a book and return a book” free book exchange have come in handy As several cities go under locadown. Several of these Free Little Libraries have been transformed into free tiny food pantries, to help those in need, especially the elderly, people with disabilities or families with very low income. People are encouraged to leave non-perishable items in the libraries, this will help as the coronavirus emergency has left thousands jobless and struggling financially. However, city officials are advising those accessing the pantires to wash their hands before and after taking or leaving an item, and to always remember to close the door of the library when done.


Thoughts from our Team

The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly increasing in the number of cases as the days go on. It is important to remember that it is highly infectious and that you do in fact follow the rules, and stay at home. Just as frontline and medical workers are putting their lives on the line to help those infected by the virus, we should help to restrict the spread by staying at home. However, as we go through these times don”t forget to stay positive. Look at how COVID-19 is bringing the world together,and check out what companies are doing to help fight against COVID-19. Maybe this will give you some insight on what you could do to help ensure the safety of the people in your communities!