Coronavirus: Alberta distilleries make hand sanitizer amid COVID-19 pandemic
As businesses continue to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Alberta distilleries have made a shift in the product they produce.
Hansen Distillery in west Edmonton has spent the past week or so making hand sanitizer.
A spokesperson for the distillery said the sanitizer is made from the “waste” that comes from a batch of spirits. Because it’s not desirable, Natalie Harper said the waste is typically thrown out or used for cleaning equipment.
Harper said the distillery has been working with provincial and federal authorities to ensure everything was compliant, and got the go-ahead about two days ago to proceed to make hand sanitizer.
Harper said the distillery has several social agencies interested in the product. Hansen Distillery is working on the best way to bottle and distribute the product for use by the social agencies to help the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Harper said the distillery should know by early next week when and how the product will be available to the public.
A distillery in Medicine Hat is also now making hand sanitizer. Grit City Distillery owner Jen Schmunk said she and her husband, Andy, want to do their part.
“The entire city is kind of in a sticky situation,” she told The Canadian Press.
“Everyone is looking for hand sanitizer everywhere so instead of making alcohol, sanitizer is what the necessity is now, so we’re kind of changing up our priorities right now.”
Schmunk said they want to supply the entire city with free hand sanitizer. The distillery needs help from the public, though. It is asking people who have spare aloe vera gel or glycerin to drop it off at the distillery, which is located at 690 South Railway St. SE.
On Wednesday, Health Canada announced it is waving some of its usual regulatory requirements to increase supplies of hand sanitizers, disinfectants, swabs and personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns used to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Due to “unprecedented demand” for such products, Health Canada says it will temporarily allow them to be sold in this country even if they don’t meet the normal regulatory requirements.
The temporary waiver will apply to products that are already authorized for sale in Canada but aren’t fully compliant with Health Canada regulations on things such as bilingual labelling or the type of packaging to be used.
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