Like most business out there, Adafruit closed down when things really started getting nasty. However, shortly after their shutdown, Adafruit was deemed as an “essential service and business for critical manufacturing”. This meant that with a skeleton crew, they could still ship essential components as well as add a new line of items to manufacture, face shields for the local government and hospitals.
With the orders to shelter at home, I was a bit curious what the streets of New York were like. Phil explained a little bit of what it is like coming into the office during this time.
On the way to and from Adafruit, it’s empty, the feeling is not “alone” it’s a feeling of being together working towards helping as many people as you can. When we do see someone it’s usually a UPS worker walking from the depo near Adafruit and we do a head nod and peace sign to each other. Delivery folks, city workers, a few vans or trucks go by that are usually government or essential related. Everything is closed, lots of chains on doors. We used to get weird looks for wearing masks a couple weeks ago, not we only see people in masks.
They are working diligently to get out as many face shields as possible, as well as whatever shipping they can pull off for essential components. The supply chains for procuring materials are ever shifting right now, it is really difficult to set up a steady system.
Sourcing things is getting tougher, we had a few things just go dark. We are helping source PPE for NYC. That said, we’ve been able to get some things that will be really helpful and more is on the way. On Wednesday we ran payroll, we decided to pay all 130+ people, no layoffs, we are all getting paid. Jobs are precious and we can do this now, not forever, but as long as possible.
Continuing to keep the employees taken care if is commendable, but as Phil noted, it isn’t sustainable. Lets hope that the timing works out that they don’t have to take drastic measures.
During this time they are continuing on the community efforts that we all enjoy. The live streamed “Ask an Engineer” is ongoing and they have extended their Show and Tell to one full hour to give more people access to show off their projects. That happens weekly, on Wednesday at 7pm EST on their youtube channel.
If you want to follow along with how Adafruit is doing, and see a feed of photos from the crew, they have set up a feed for that.