A popular golf accessory company out of Oregon, Seamus Golf, has paused its normal production to make medical masks for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
As of March 25, the coronavirus has claimed more than 21,000 lives worldwide and more than 900 in the U.S. alone. Seamus Golf is setting out to be part of the solution to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Seamus CEO Akbar Chisti joined Golf Central on Wednesday night via video call. Speaking with Ryan Burr, Chisti said his company has shifted its focus to making masks for people in the medical industry and customers who need them amid a national shortage.
In an unfortunate time for the world, Chisti saw an opportunity and a space where he could add value while the golf world is on hold.
“This is a time where we would be putting production into larger events that are either deferred or are not happening,” he said. “So, it actually turns out that we are in a position to bust out quite a few of them and send them out, you know, pretty expediently.”
Good thing for Chisti — some supplies were already in house.
“It so happens that the elastic used in masks is something we can pull from our headcovers,” Chisti said. “We sent out an email to our customers and came back with 330 replies as of today. So, we are targeting to have to produce about 5,000 (masks) in short order.”
But production is underway, and Chisti and his team are en route to produce about 200 no-cost care packages with 10 masks each in the next week.
“We thought there would be a lot of people needing them, but once we got the responses and the thoughts put into the emails, we basically had an emotional night where we didn’t sleep, and then we woke up and all of a sudden we went from making headcovers to doing something that really prevents the spread of this terrible thing.”
Chisti and other co-founder, Megan Chisti, have closed their website and display a message to customers on the front page that reads in part, “We are temporarily closing the store to allow the full team to focus and assess the situation with masks. Our second production run begins tonight.”
“I knew nothing about masks before this,” Chisti said. “I mean, I had no real experience in the medical industry, which is why I took it pretty carefully and took the time to understand and talk to actual people who would be out there … It’s not FDA approved or anything, but if a doctor tells you to go make a mask, you go make a mask.”