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VISTA, Calif. — The beaches may be closed during the pandemic, but a company in Vista has come up with an innovative way to convert full-face scuba and snorkeling masks into in-demand personal protective equipment.

Ocean Reef is headquartered in both Genoa, Italy and Vista, California, so the company has had great success providing aid in both a country that already experienced its peak of the pandemic and the United States, where we are still working to flatten the curve.

“We came up with a concept for an adapter that would allow for filters to be screwed into the adapter and therefore turn that snorkeling mask into a an emergency use protective device,” said Jon Wilkins, director of North American sales for Ocean Reef.

In just the last month, thousands of masks have already been converted and put to use in hospitals across the world.

Within the last five years, Ocean Reef has produced more than one million masks, meaning there are a lot of them already out there in people’s households that can also protect them in a unique way.

“They’re sitting at home not snorkeling, but they have four of our masks sitting there they can get an adapter and a filter and be fully protected,” explained Wilkins.

The adapter and filter can be purchased for about $20 to $25 respectively, but there’s also an option on the company’s website for free 3D printing downloads for the times when a greater volume is needed.

“We added 3D files to the site that allowed people to go on and for their own personal use or nonprofit organizations could download those files and print those adapters 3D files for free and put them right into use quicker than we could produce,” said Wilkins.

These masks weren’t just used for personal protective equipment, either. Ocean Reef says one of the earliest ways it was able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 was with the patients, converting the masks for ventilator use.

Wilkins says the company is also in the process of providing an easier avenue for those hospitals or organizations in need to reach out and coordinate how to get the masks.