Not business as usual: These San Antonio-area companies are making masks, shields, sanitizer in the fight against COVID-19

Many local companies using their resources to make items needed by health care workers

(Images provided by Felisha Powell.)
(Images provided by Felisha Powell.)

SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances for many San Antonio companies. Even if a business is considered essential under the state, county and city “Stay Home, Work Safe” orders, it’s anything but business as usual.

As a result of the changes, many companies have transitioned away from their usual tasks and products to focus on creating solutions for San Antonio’s first responders and medical workers.

Here are some of the local companies that are helping meet some of the new needs created by COVID-19:

Desert Door Texas Sotol Distillery, a veteran-owned company, is making hand sanitizer full-time for first responders, the FBI, nursing homes, restaurants and health care workers.

Dixie Flag Company has converted its San Antonio flag manufacturing operations to produce washable and reusable fabric masks for first responders, medical workers, essential workers and the public.

Filters4Air has been making air conditioning filters of various sizes for many years for hospitals and homes, but it is currently working on a much smaller scale for the same clients. Some workers are cutting small squares of filter material to insert into homemade or paper face masks for groups like Veterans Affairs and University Health System. **Note- these are NOT fiberglass air filters, which should NEVER be used for a face mask because fiberglass is dangerous to the lungs and skin.

Helmy Plastics, which normally makes plastic products for industries, such as landscaping and cosmetics, is making face shields to be sold to companies in the medical field in San Antonio first and then plans to spread to other areas outside of Bexar County.

Hemisfair’s new makerspace is using its 3-D printer to make personal protective shields to provide to local healthcare facilities for free.

Jon Hart Design, known for its leather products, is producing face masks.

Maverick Whiskey is making hand sanitizer which they are donating to the City of San Antonio and other health care and safety organizations, as well as selling to the public.

The Medical CAD/CAM Laboratory, located at the Air Force Postgraduate Dental School on JBSA-Lackland, normally creates surgical guides and medical devices for military medical residents. Now, it’s printing face shields for medical providers across JBSA.

Dr. Bart Wilson with Mission Orthodontics and his associates at Quik Dental Prints are using 3-D printing capabilities to make photopolymer masks for frontline healthcare workers.

NEISD librarians and career & technical education teachers are creating face shields using 3-D printers to print the headband portion of a mask and using transparency sheets as the clear cover for the front of the masks. Canopener Labs provided the district with the print file, and once finished, the masks will be given to Canopener Labs for disinfecting and shipment to local healthcare workers.

Printed Meeple is using its 3D printers and laser cutters — usually tasked to create fun gadgets — to make face shields and respirators.

Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling is making and distributing hand sanitizer.

Rebecca Creek Distillery has temporarily shifted its production of whiskey to hand sanitizer.

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