Employee safety is a prime concern or companies that have seen their business boom 

By Edith Ramirez

Edith Ramirez

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted virtually every community in California, and the city of Morgan Hill is no exception. Yet when the crisis came to this bustling small town in south Silicon Valley, city leaders and business owners joined forces to mitigate the disaster.

While local businesses pivoted to meet dire needs of healthcare workers around the state and the nation, the city itself took quick action to blunt the worst economic effects of the crisis.

Morgan Hill’s manufacturing base has proven indispensable, providing supplies critical to our healthcare infrastructure. Paramit Corporation, for example, a major manufacturer of medical and life science devices, has stepped up production, not only producing an array of critical treatment and testing devices, but also retooling its 3-D printing capability on the fly to design and print reusable face shields.

Lin Engineering, which designs and builds precision electric motors and motion systems, has prioritized its production line to support companies making equipment necessary to treat COVID-19 patients.

Another manufacturer, All Sensors, has employees working around the clock producing essential components for hospital ventilators.

All Sensors General Manager Dale Daunenhauer said the company has received as many orders in the past three weeks as it usually does in a full year, all for immediate delivery.

Even companies that don’t have a direct connection to the healthcare world are stepping up. Mike Sinyard, founder and CEO of Morgan Hill-based Specialized Bicycle Components, is using his company’s purchasing power to procure and ship tens of thousands of face masks from Asia, sending them on to meet the severe shortage of masks in New York City, with a goal of shipping a million masks.

For companies that have seen their business boom during the pandemic, employee safety is a prime concern.

Local food delivery business Sun Basket, for instance, has doubled in size, but the company maintains strict protocols to ensure its employees and facility are safe, including protective gear for everyone, extra hand-washing and sanitizing stations, and even temperature monitoring cameras. In addition, they are sending meals to local hospitals and extra PPE (personal protection equipment) when available.

Unfortunately, not all Morgan Hill companies are at the center of action as essential services, and many are suffering the economic fallout from state and county shelter-in-place orders.

For them, Morgan Hill city and community leaders have stepped in to provide a much-needed ray of hope. As soon as the crisis hit, city officials moved quickly to support local businesses, organizing roundtables and creating a business resources web page to share detailed information on where to get loans and other financial assistance.

People may think of Morgan Hill as a cozy small town, but it features more than 100 restaurants, roughly 30 of which are located in the downtown, including one Michelin-starred establishment.

The restaurant industry is getting much needed help. The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce took immediate action, launching a Facebook page with menus to promote curbside pick-up, which attracted 3,000 followers overnight.

The city also relaxed parking regulations to make it easier to visit restaurants for pick-up service. And Visit Morgan Hill, a tourism nonprofit, is in the process of buying masks and gloves to distribute to the hospitality industry.

The response has been tremendous, providing a lifeline to this hard-hit sector.

Everyone has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but our small businesses feel it the most. We are mobilizing as fast as we can to bring resources to them. We are most proud of and grateful for our business community coming together in this time of need to support the economic recovery.

Edith Ramirez is the Economic Development Director for Morgan Hill.

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