Workers at a Pennsylvania plant that produces a key material in personal protective equipment say they've returned to a changed world after living on site for almost a month. Some 40 employees volunteered to spend 28 days at the Braskem America plant outside Philadelphia, where a live-in rotation was created "to help ensure the health and safety of our team members who are working as an essential service throughout this crisis." The employees who produced polypropylene—a polymer used to create a non-woven fiber needed to make N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes—finally clocked out Sunday, some whooping as they did so, per WPVI. They'll now get a week off.
The employees—including some additional volunteers in Texas and West Virginia—received a boost in wages, per CNN. Split into two groups, they worked alternating 12-hour shifts and had access to beds, kitchens, groceries, internet, and iPads when off the clock. Some even had drive-by visits from family, who decked out their vehicles with signs and honked their horns. Operations shift supervisor Joe Boyce tells WPVI it's odd stepping out into a world where it's now necessary "to stand six feet from somebody." But "we're truly honored to be able to give back and support people we will never meet in some way," he says. "All the first responders, all the people on the front lines, we thank you. That's what makes our job easy to do." (Read more coronavirus stories.)