BARRIE, ONT. -- The provincial government has announced it will be providing financial support to help manufacturers ramp up production of personal protective equipment.

The Ontario Together Fund will provide funds to three companies, including Southmedic, Sterling Industries, and SRB Technologies.

Barrie company Southmedic will receive $1.8 million from the province to reengineer and retool current production and purchase new moulding equipment.

According to Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, the company will double its output of oxygen masks, triple its production of ETCO2 masks, which are specialty masks used to monitor breathing prior to ventilator use, and quadruple manufacturing of eye and face shields to help meet the province's need for PPE.

The funding will also help the company reorganize its production facility to allow for physical distancing.

"Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Ontario businesses have shown incredible collaboration, resilience and determination to tackle this crisis," said Minister Fedeli.