INDIANAPOLIS — One major manufacturer of helmets and racing gear is switching production to keep its workers on the job and make items meant to keep people healthy.
Once called the "Franklin Flyer," former stock car racer Steve Barnett is now Franklin's Mayor.
Barnett turned to the racing world to get face masks for his police officers and firefighters.
"People need to take this serious," Barnett said. "We don't want people to panic but want people to be careful."
Under normal circumstances, Indianapolis-based "Impact Racing" would be at the peak of making race-related gear from suits to helmets. But it's turned its production lines to make 100% cotton washable masks.
"We wanted to figure out a way ... how do we provide jobs for employees? How do we do that and serve the community?" Barnett said.
The company says the masks are not FDA approved and not the N-95's used by health professionals, but the masks can be used for the general public to block the exchange of droplets from sneezes and coughs to reduce the spread of illness.
"There is a side benefit to people in the general public wearing them, one of the reasons that they are worn in other parts of the world frequently is to train yourself not to touch your face," Barnett said. "That is considered one of the largest sources of transmission is from your hands from your face."
Impact began making the mask on March 20th with races being canceled or postponed like the Indy 500 moving from May to until August.
"It was really important for us to be a part of the community at a time of crisis," Barnett said.
The City of Franklin bought 200 masks. Two separate facilities in Franklin brought a combined total of 1,400 masks, as well.
Each mask costs $5.