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Toronto designer helping to keep local retail workers safe by building protective shields

Rachelle LeBlanc is using her studio space to construct wood-and-Plexiglas barriers, which she then donates to small local businesses.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
April 16, 2020
Rachelle LeBlanc. Photo: YouTube/CBC News
Rachelle LeBlanc. Photo: YouTube/CBC News

Many large retailers have installed clear shields to protect their cashiers from COVID-19 transmission, but Toronto designer Rachelle LeBlanc noticed that the smaller corner shops and local businesses she frequents did not have similar safeguards in place. LeBlanc was uniquely placed to help: She has a partially-renovated studio space in the Parkdale neighbourhood, which she has now turned into a workspace to build protective shields from Plexiglas and wood.

LeBlanc uses donated materials and has raised funds through a GoFundMe campaign to purchase additional supplies. Other local businesses have stepped up to help by cutting the individual pieces, which she then assembles into shields. A group of volunteers helps LeBlanc deliver the completed shields to businesses who need them.

So far LeBlanc and her team have built and distributed 20 of their shields and hope to assemble 100 more, using the proceeds of the fundraising campaign. She has also made her shield design available online, so other people can undertake similar initiatives in their own communities.

Source: CBC News

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