WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — Dozens of people place their hands and fingers on public door handles, elevator buttons or PIN pads at ATMs, grocery stores and gas stations on an average day.
In the COVID-19 era, many are gloving up to avoid direct contact with these likely unclean surfaces.
A local custom metal designer is making it a little easier to stay germ-free with the touchless hooks he’s been creating out of his Wilmington Island garage.
Brian Walker, who runs Walker Custom Metal, says apart from his usual customized decorations and personalized gifts, he’s added what he calls “germ hooks” to his repertoire.
“I have a keychain that you can use to either push buttons, open doors or even turn a lock,” Walker told WSAV.com NOW.
“It’s easy to clean, it’s got a nice professional finish on it and you can sterilize it over and over again, it won’t wear out,” he said.
A friend who had been making similar plastic devices gave Walker the idea of creating a metal version.
“I call it a ‘germ hook’ to just have our own name for it, but you can call it a touchless door opener, a button pusher,” he said.
“A lot of people go to the grocery store and they don’t want to touch the buttons or they don’t want to touch the screen, he added. “You can do [just about] everything at the gas pump except pump gas with this thing.”
Walker says the small, yet durable, device has proven quite popular in the two weeks since he began taking orders.
“The response has been great,” he shared. “I’m pretty sure I’ve sold over 500 in the past two weeks, and I’m entertaining a couple of people that want to buy multiple hundreds of them right now.”
The machine he uses to cut the hooks is able to craft 100 pieces in 20 to 30 minutes, he says, but the whole process to finish the same number of hooks takes him between two and three hours.
Walker describes preparing and finishing the metal as “backbreaking work,” but adds that he’s happy to make them if it gives people peace of mind.
“People are suddenly very germ aware, and it’s something I take very seriously,” Walker said.
“On one hand, we haven’t left the house in two months, but on the other hand, we’ve had time to work on this new project, and it’s gone really well,” he said.