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Texas auto audio shop repurposes equipment to make face shields for doctors

Instead of installing audio systems and working on window tints, Robert Gonzalez and Scott Lizotte are now making face shields to help doctors fighting coronavirus.

AUSTIN, Texas — Thursday night, Robert Gonzalez saw a post on Facebook from a friend calling for people with laser cutting machines to help protect doctors in the fight against coronavirus.

Gonzalez saw it as a "call for action." His business, Sunshades Tint & Sound, had the machinery to get the job done. All he needed was the material and the instructions to make face shields. His friend, Jeremy Katz, helped create a Google doc with everything Gonzalez needed.

He set to work.

“This isn’t something that’s reached any of us," Gonzalez said. "It’s reached all of us. We all know what we’re dealing with – it’s crazy. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Frankly, it’s scary.”

Gonzalez and his employee, Scott Lizotte, started making shields Friday after ordering plastic from Regal Plastics in Austin.

Since then, Gonzalez and Lizotte have created 1,000 shields.

“Everybody’s world has been shook," Gonzalez said. "When people are dying, it’s serious.” 

Gonzalez's niece works in the medical field, along with many of his friends. This job is personal. 

“If you have an office that’s in the medical field, reach out to us, send us a message," Gonzalez said.

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Gonzalez admits, unfortunately, that price may become an obstacle in the future. So far, he has spent $2,500 on materials for the shields. He expects the next shipment of plastics to arrive on Wednesday.

“We have set up a GoFundMe account to help us continue and move this effort on," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has now set his sights on making more than 20,000 face shields. He hopes more car audio shops join the movement to create face shields. Toyota has already pledged to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) from many of its facilities.

The first shipments from the Toyota facilities will go to urban areas, including Houston and Dallas.

WATCH: Texas doctors dealing with mask shortage get supplies from Mexico 

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