Morrison, IL – (April 24, 2020) During the past few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Whiteside County Economic Development has been in touch with local businesses in the Northwest Illinois Region, gathering information from these businesses, and providing information regarding the COVID-19 response from Federal, State and local resources. While several businesses are in dire need of assistance, they have also been in touch with several businesses that are stepping up to meet the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other essential goods and services.
Gary Camarano, Whiteside’s Economic Development Director said, “Several businesses in the region have continued to produce needed equipment, or in some cases stepped out their traditional product mix and moved innovatively to produce needed PPE and other goods. HALO, Wahl Clipper, and Sterling Medical are prime examples of this, with lots more out there.”
Camarano explained, “HALO Branded Solutions, for example, has worked with some of its suppliers to produce face masks, gowns and hand sanitizers for distribution to the healthcare sector. Last week HALO brought in $45 million worth of facemasks from suppliers in Honduras and Tennessee, and has begun to distribute them to its clients. Terry McGuire, HALO SVP of Marketing, added, “We are continuing to work with our suppliers and intend on bringing in more product – face-masks, gowns, hand sanitizer, and whatever else that makes sense.”
It should also be noted that some of the businesses involved have also been forced to make some tough decisions. HALO has had to furlough or reduce in force approximately 30% of its workforce. According to Terry McGuire, “HALO intends to call those workers back when we return to normal. It was a hard decision, and senior and executive management have voluntarily taken pay cuts 0f 20- 30% during extraordinary times. But, in the meantime we still have work to do, and we if can help in the fight against COVID-19, so be it.”
Camarano added, “There are lots of other businesses in the region contributing to the fight against COVID-19, and making sure Americans have the goods and services they need during the ‘lockdown.’ The regions agribusinesses, manufacturers, food processors and logistics firms are working. Not under ideal conditions, but they are stepping up to the challenge, and that’s what makes our Northwest Illinois community special.”