Local businesses step up to manufacture medical supplies in face of COVID-19

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Dixon’s Distilled Spirits is part of a trend among distilleries, using alcohol to make hand sanitizer for frontline workers in the fight to keep COVID-19 from spreading in the community.

Dixon’s, on Elmira Road in Guelph, started making hand sanitizer earlier in March and offered it for free to local health facilities.

Two days later, Silver Fox Distillery in Arthur announced it was making hand sanitizer for workers at Waste Management in Mount Forest.

And then, Schelters Stockroom Supply Company in Elora donated hand sanitizer to Groves hospital after another customer cancelled their order.

Vicky Dixon, a co-owner at Dixon’s, said because of a run on hand sanitizer and because they had the ability to make it, they felt compelled to help.

“If [front-line workers] don’t have it, we’re all in trouble,” she said. “And the response has been overwhelming.”

Doctors’ offices, the Homewood Health Centre and trucking companies have all expressed a need, she said.

Since producing the first batch, Dixon said the University of Guelph has donated glycerol and peroxide to make the sanitizer less harsh on hands.

“Right now, it’s straight alcohol and that’s an issue,” Dixon said.

Since then, Premier Doug Ford has asked businesses in Ontario that have the ability and the capacity to start manufacturing medical supplies.

“We need ventilators, face masks, surgical gowns, protective eye wear, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, swabs, medical gloves, and lab testing equipment,” Ford said on the weekend.

“If you can retool your business to make these products, if you can supply these essential items, we need to hear from you right now. If you need funding to make it happen, we’ll find a way to help you.”

To learn more about what the government needs and how to offer help visit www.ontario.ca.