NEW YORK - For 30 years Scott Weisberg of Everything Entertainment created themed decor for birthday parties and provided tents for weddings and corporate events. Now, he's doing something entirely different: making partitions that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"We just saw, this is a need. Stores are going to need it, businesses are going to need it, hospitals are going to need it and we just started doing it," Weisberg said.
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Jerry Amerosi, owner of Gerald Peters Inc. jewelry store, is one of Weisberg's customers.
"It's very very important to have sneeze guards, just like you are going to a salad bar. You have to have it. I think it is one of the best things to protect my employees and my team and myself and even of course the clients," Amerosi said.
Weisberg's Everything Entertainment is among a growing number of businesses reinventing themselves to help stores and companies operate safely when they are given the go-ahead to reopen as the virus recedes.
Prop N Spoon in Long Island City, Queens, a supplier of props to broadway, movie shoots and TV shows, now makes everything from social distancing signs to Plexiglass partitions to masks. It also provides consulting services to businesses studying how to reopen.
"What we will do is go in and we will help the client and help them put togehter a safety and communication plan and implement it," said Harlan Silverstein, owner of Prop N Spoon.
The Factory, a full-service fabricator in Brooklyn, offers "emergency fabrication services" that can be used to make respirators and build dividers and partitions for offices and temporary work stations.
Like the owners of Prop N Spoon and Everything Entertainment, General Manager Jonathan Epstein says the retooling makes up for some, but not all, of his lost business. Epstein has been able to keep about 10 of his 40 employees.
"We are not out to make a buck on this. We're trying to keep our doors open and bring our employess back into the shop," Epstein said.
All three businesses are anticipating a greater demand for their new services in the months to come, but what they're looking forward to is a time they won't be needed and things will get back to normal.