Impacto Protective Products is a Belleville business that operates internationally. When the news of Covid-19 pandemic came out and the Ontario government started mandating shutdowns, Impacto President Eric Lehtinen took a long, hard look at operations to see how he could keep his staff employed and avoid laying them off. Lehtinen says “If we stopped getting orders in, then we were going to have to make changes. I looked at the cut and sew shop we have had here in Belleville for over 30 years and asked ‘what can we make that people need?’ I came in with my family on a Saturday morning and made up a really, simple design on a mask that would give some protection from people touching their face. I gave it to our production team on a Monday and they perfected it and that Wednesday we started shipping masks to people.”
Lehtinen says they have donated masks to many organizations like local food banks, Quinte Health Care and Three Oaks to name a few. He says the Impacto masks are not designed to replace the N95 masks for frontline health care workers but they are washable and they fill a gap for others during this pandemic.
Impacto is striving to make 10,000 masks a day while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. They are selling these masks as well, trying to keep the team employed during a time when many others are shutting down. Lehtinen says “There is a lot of pride that over 30 years ago Impacto decided to keep manufacturing our products here in Ontario. All of our competitors import 100% of their product line and in a situation like this they can’t do anything for anyone, while we can.” He says this project has taken Impacto back to their roots to a time where all they did was cut and sew.
Belleville General Hospital Foundation Executive Director Steve Cook says “Impacto has been an important partner to BGHF over the years donating on a regular basis. It was only last year the Lehtinen’s stepped up to support the Regional Nuclear Medicine Camera Campaign. These types of Community efforts are invaluable at this time, as we are just in the process of rolling out our Community Hero scheme in recognition of all the amazing initiatives being created to support front line staff