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Simcoe manufacturer donates face shields for farmers' market vendors

A Collingwood distillery has also offered a supply of hand sanitizer for the market, which opens tomorrow
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MPC donated 500 face shields to Collingwood Downtown BIA for use at the farmers' market and by local businesses. Heretic Spirits has offered up hand sanitizer for the market as well. Pictured from left to right are Susan Nicholson (BIA manager), David Yeaman (president and co-owner of MPC), Brook Girdwood (Collingwood Farmers' Market staff), Mayor Brian Saunderson, Penny Skelton (chair of Collingwood Downtown BIA board), and Scott Morrison (CEO at Heretic Spirits). Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

An Oro-Medonte-based manufacturer made a special delivery of face shields to Collingwood yesterday.

Molded Precision Components (MPC) donated 500 face shields to the Collingwood Downtown BIA to be used by vendors at the farmers’ market and for downtown business owners and staff.

Local distillery Heretic Spirits, joined in by donating hand sanitizer for market vendors and customers too.

David Yeaman, president and co-owner of MPC, made the donation of the face shields personally.

“I feel for the business owners,” said Yeaman. “They need them.”

He said it's difficult for business owners to find the necessary PPE to reopen their shops safely, and the added cost is a burden after having to be closed partially or fully for several weeks.

In total, MPC is donating 25,000 shields (about $100,000 value) to 1,000 businesses in Simcoe and Grey County.

The company produces 450,000 shields per day under the brand Shield U. and has an order for 27 million face shields for the provincial and federal governments. Those shields will be distributed to frontline workers.

Yeaman said his company retooled on a large scale in late March and early April, which included hiring 65 college and university students for the summer as well as 35 new full-time staff.

Pre-pandemic, MPC had a staff of 55 people.

Yeaman said face shields will continue to be part of MPC’s product line.

“We’ll make them forever. This wasn’t just a COVID thing,” he said. “This was wrapped around a long-term business model.”

The face shield is a plastic visor made of water bottle material attached to a plastic adjustable headband.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, said face shields are good for covering a person’s eyes, where infection can enter the body. However, he does not recommend them to replace a face mask.

“Wearing a face shield alone has become a bit vogue as a practice, but at this point it’s unclear how protective it is,” said Gardner. “Research suggests it wouldn’t be as protective for breathed in droplets in the same way as a mask would.”

Yeaman said he would leave the professional health advice to Health Canada, but noted there are varying opinions coming out of different regional health units when it comes to using face shields.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit has made an emergency order prohibiting anyone from entering a commercial establishment without a face covering. The health unit website states face shields “do not provide full coverage of the mouth, nose and chin,” so do not contain droplets. However, the site states a face shield is better than no face covering.

Information posted to the World Health Organization website offers similar advice, noting in a June 5 document a face shield can be used by the public in the case of a non-medical mask shortage, but WHO states they are inferior to a mask for prevention of droplet transmission. The WHO states a face shield may be easier to wear than a medical mask.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has posted recommendations and guidelines for infection control and safety for farmers’ markets. The health unit also offers advice on its website for shopping safely.

Collingwood Farmers’ Market opens this Saturday, June 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pine Street parking lot. The first hour is reserved for seniors and online pre-orders. Those shopping at the market are required to wear face coverings. If you do not have one, one will be provided at the entrance.




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