New York —

By converting, they manage to maintain the source of employment for some of their workers during the health crisis

The coronavirus pandemic forced a factory dedicated to the production of cosmetics and beauty products to change direction and to dedicate itself to the production of antibacterial gel.

With this decision, the company killed two birds with one stone, keeping part of its workforce and reducing the shortage of antibacterial gels on the market.

The emergency due to COVID-19 made hand sanitizers disappear from the shelves in pharmacies and supermarkets, while on the Internet, prices skyrocketed.

Before the pandemic, we had 48 workers, but we had to rest many of them because the companies we produced them stopped their orders. “says Jimmy Ortega, a Colombian immigrant, owner of the Joba Labs laboratories.

Employees are happy to return to work. (Courtesy Rossie Orbach)

He explains that a month ago they reconverted and started producing the antibacterial gel, so they called 16 of the workers who had vacated because of the closure of businesses.

Of the three laboratories Jimmy has, the only one he keeps open with the production of hand sanitizer is the one located in San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County. Ortega has two laboratories in the San Fernando Valley, and one in the city of Irvine in Orange County.

The first I thought when the coronavirus started and the emergency was declared, was in my employees. That is why I proposed to my partner, chemist Frank Arias, that we go and do a sanitizer because of the severe shortage that arose and the high demand. “

That’s how they launched into producing a hand sanitizer that had the alcohol levels that really help protect from COVID-19.

Jimmy points out that there are many antibacterial gels, but they are flat products that do not meet the requirements. “I want my community to receive what it needs with high quality.”

Jimmy Ortega’s antibacterial gel. (Rossie Orbach / Courtesy)

Their goal is to produce 100,000 bottles of gel, lotion and spray hand sanitizer, but they have already put more than 23 thousand on the market.

Jimmy created a team of chemists to create the disinfectant. Once the formula was ready, he began to call part of the template that he had sent home.

“The most important thing when we created this company was that we could give work to the Hispanic community and more than anything to women,” says Frank Arias.

The chemist Mariana Arias, who participated in the creation of the hand sanitizer line, points out that these products have 70% alcohol. And it is that for an antibacterial gel to be really effective against the coronavirus it needs to have above that percentage, Jimmy completes.

The chemist Jaime Ortega adds that they looked for a way to confront the invisible enemy of COVID-19 in a critical situation, seeing the chaos and that it was impossible to find antibacterial gel.

San Fernando Valley company is converted to produce antibacterial gel. (Courtesy Rossie Orbach)

Jimmy says that the workers work under strict protection measures with masks, gloves and maintaining social distance.

The 64-year-old businessman estimates that small businesses like his will have to start from scratch when they return to work when the emergency arises.

“What is happening to small companies hurts in my soul because we are the ones that most generate employment in this country. When we return, after three months of being closed, we are going to have to rebuild our clientele and work on earning trust again so that they believe in us again. ”

Jimmy Ortega’s antibacterial gel can be found at 6800 Reseda Boulevard, Unit E in the city of Reseda, California.