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Lili makes hand sanitiser to help community effort

Community effort: Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone’s son, William, making hand sanitiser at the Lili Bermuda Perfumery with Dean Rubaine of the Ministry of National Security (Photograph supplied)

During the Covid-19 crisis, perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone is putting her skills to work helping the community. In the last week, the owner of Lili Bermuda, and her son William, have made more than 500 litres of hand sanitiser to donate to front-line workers.“I am making it for the Ministry of National Security and also grocery stores,” she said. Grocery stores will use it to help keep staff, customers and equipment germ free.On Wednesday, she had a visit from Dean Rubaine, national disaster risk reduction and mitigation analyst at the Ministry of National Security.“He brought containers for the hand sanitiser,” she said. “I put it in the containers for organisations to put in spray bottles. It is not something you put in a pump.”She wants to make sure the people who need it, get it. She doesn’t want to see her work put into storage. “We need this now,” she said.Her hand sanitiser is 70 per cent alcohol, the same level as hospital disinfectants.However, she said at that strength it’s a bit harsh on hands.“I am desperate for vitamin E or glycerin, some emollient I could add to it, so it is a little less difficult on the hands,” she said. “But it won’t hurt anyone.”And as much as she wants everything to smell like her Lili Bermuda perfumes, the hand sanitiser has no perfume in it.The hand sanitiser is not for individuals. She asked that people not come to her door looking for the stuff.“I don’t want to catch this thing,” she said. “So I work by myself.”She said the best way for individuals to stay healthy is to stay home and wash their hands. “When you live in isolation, you don’t need to spray your hands with hand sanitiser,” she said. “We have to be mindful of why we use things. It is duck-down time for everyone. Sanitiser is the second-best thing to washing your hands.”Earlier this month, she had to close her Lili Bermuda stores in Bermuda and Palm Beach, Florida due to the pandemic. Her online store is still open.She also had to let her seven staff members go.“That was devastating,” she said. “Some of them have been with me for 25 years. They were very dedicated people. I try to call them regularly to see how they are doing.”She plans to keep making the hand sanitiser until her supplies run out.