Similar To WWII, Companies Are Repurposing To Fight The Coronavirus


Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
Font Size:

Just like during World War II, companies across the west have started repurposing to make things like medical equipment and high-proof alcohol sanitizer to help fight against the coronavirus.

Unlike at the start of the WWII when factories repurposed to make things like weapons and supplies, companies are now switching over to produce disease fighting products. High-end perfume factories are making hand sanitizer, a car-parts manufacturer is making hygienic masks and even an earthmoving-equipment maker is looking to make much-needed ventilators, as noted by the Wall Street Journal in a piece published Thursday. (RELATED: Here’s A List Of How Every Country In The World Is Responding To Coronavirus)

Companies in numerous other fields have started to respond as well. Distilleries in Kentucky, Texas and Pennsylvania have turned from making high-proof alcohol to making hand sanitizer.

According to the WSJ report:

French spirits giant Pernod Ricard SA says it is making sanitizer at plants in the U.S. and supplying alcohol for others to make it from plants in Europe. That includes whiskey distilleries for the Pernod brands Rabbit Hole in Kentucky, Smooth Ambler in West Virginia and TX Whiskey in Texas. In Sweden, Pernod’s Absolut Vodka brand is donating alcohol for hand sanitizer production, Pernod says.

A distillery in Pennsylvania has temporarily halted operations to produce high-proof alcohol sanitizer, according to the Associated Press. Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, produced twenty bottles of the alcohol-based disinfectant earlier in the week. The products were then sent to various charitable groups that were unable to locate sanitizer due to fear of the spread of COVID-19.

“We are in a national emergency,” brewery founder Chad Butters shared. “What’s the right thing to do? The right thing to do is support this community by providing something that is in desperate need. We’ll flood the valley with hand sanitizer and drive that price right down.”

While French blue jean maker 1083,  which has seen demand plummet amid the pandemic, started making makeshift sanitary masks, which have been “much easier to make” than jeans, Thomas Huriez, founder of the company shared.

Auto maker Vauxhall, in the United Kingdom, offered to start assembling life-saving ventilator devices at its plant in England, with General Motors and Ford looking to put their idle factories to work by making medical equipment.

Germany’s Agriculture and Food Minister Julia Klöckner shared in a news conference Tuesday how the country was looking to employ unemployed workers such as waiters to harvest its fields.

“Unfortunately there are sectors where orders have sunk to nearly zero,” Klöckner shared. “We’re looking at how we could bring some of these people into agriculture without too many bureaucratic hurdles.”

Perfume company, LVMH, announced it too would be converting its manufacturing facilities in France, which normally would make fragrances for brands like Givenchy and Christian Dior, to make hand sanitizer instead.

“We are at war,” French President Emmanuel Macron shared in a speech on Monday. “The enemy is invisible, elusive and it’s advancing. We must mobilize.” (RELATED: LIVE UPDATES: Here’s What Every State In America Is Doing To Combat The Spread Of The Coronavirus)

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act in order to fight against the pandemic, “just in case we need it.” The Cold War-era measure gives the president powers to pressure companies to produce goods tied to national defense. (RELATED: REPORT: Coachella Potentially Rescheduled To October Due To Coronavirus Fears)