After the state issued an order closing businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 last week, Open Works had to lay off 21 part-time employees. By the weekend, however, the remaining full-time team of six people was hatching a new response plan to the crisis at the Greenmount West makerspace.
After speaking with local hospital officials and seeing social media posts from doctors and nurses about the critical shortage for masks that can protect healthcare workers as they treat patients with COVID-19, Executive Director Will Holman began exploring how Open Works could spin up capacity to put the tools at the makerspace to use for filling the need.
What followed was a mobilization of local makers and entrepreneurship organizations to address a growing national need on a local level. It’s now coming under the banner of Makers Unite.