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Local firm creates reusable face guard ideal for hospitality

Local firm creates reusable face guard ideal for hospitality

Hi Viso in use at the Stormont Hotel.

Local firm creates reusable face guard ideal for hospitality

James Leckey with James McKee from Usel.

A Lisburn-based company has designed a revolutionary, reusable, all-in-one face and neck guard, designed to help protect against Covid-19 and already proving popular with hospitality workers.

Hi Viso, the creation of Belfast entrepreneur James Leckey, offers full-face visibility making it suitable for client-facing settings and where social distancing cannot be achieved.

A design engineer, he sold his former business Leckey, a global leader in adaptive equipment for children with special needs, in August 2020.

The idea for Hi Viso came about at the beginning of the pandemic, after hearing numerous reports of discomfort for health care workers and for those key workers who needed to stay in the workplace but could not safely socially distance. Leckey was determined to design a solution to get his own employees back working comfortably and safely.

“Like so many households my wife Jayne and I would watch the news every day during the start of the first lockdown and we could not believe that masks and visors were the best solution for everyone – there had to be something more comfortable and durable that gave full-face visibility,” he said.

“We could see there was a need for more effective face protection that didn’t irritate the wearer and immediately got to work with rapid prototyping and trials with local designers and professionals.”

Lightweight, comfortable and breathable, Hi Viso encompasses an all-in-one mask and visor with an innovative headband designed for comfort and improved ventilation.

The company has partnered with Usel, a leading provider in helping people with disabilities or health conditions gain employment in Northern Ireland, on the production and distribution of Hi Viso.

“Hi Viso is reusable and easy to clean and sanitise so more cost effective in the long run,” said Leckey. “Currently there has been more than 32 billion items of PPE purchased in the UK alone. The disposal of this is having a huge impact on the environment.

“Hi Viso was initially inspired by healthcare workers; however, we have seen an uptake amongst a range of customer facing professionals, especially people working in hospitality.

“Its full-face visibility improves communication and makes it perfect for environments where masks are not an ideal option, such as in hotels, restaurants and bars, cabin crew on aircrafts, teachers, close contact and community services.

“Beyond that though, we’ve had uptake from beauticians, corporate businesses and sports clubs. We’re hoping Hi Viso helps people feel safe in the workplace and going about their everyday activities.”

Kate Smith from Deane and Decano praises the innovative product. “Hi Viso is a really good face cover for staff engaging with the public and a very positive response from customers about our initiative,” she said. “We love the full pace coverage and transparency.”

Laura McIntosh from Hastings Hotels also compliments Hi Viso. “It’s very comfortable and doesn’t steam up and what I like is that customers can see your full face and smile and conversation is more natural and not contorted, like it is wearing other masks,” said McIntosh.

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