Coronavirus Update

March 06, 2020 Tommy Lindquist

The coronavirus is providing a scare for most of the world. But what is the coronavirus? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines the coronavirus: “There are many types of human coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.” While the world seems to be in panic trying to combat the disease, the coronavirus is also affecting other aspects of life and business.

While the shortage of masks or other medical supplies is obvious, many other products are seeing lower quantities and slow or unknown lead/ship times. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, “China is currently our largest goods trading partner with $659.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018.” Despite tariff controversy and other events, China remains a major trade partner in 2020. China, and many other countries, are shutting down their factories and facilities due to the illness. Therefore, most manufacturing is at a halt until further notice.

Now that COVID-19 has shown up in many more countries, including the U.S., most every industry has been affected in some way. Many states have implemented their own policies and procedures for slowing down the spread. While procedures may differ slightly from state-to-state, one thing is clear: staying home is recommended whenever possible. Today many businesses - from small to corporate giants - are seeing slower response times, halt production, decreased staff, and other effects.

For shipped products, domestic and international, it is a frequently-asked question as to whether COVID-19 can be transmitted through product surfaces and shipping. While the CDC progresses with their discoveries, based on similar diseases and evidence thus far, it is unlikely that the disease can spread through products and packaging. The coronavirus is thought to be spread more so through respiratory actions and no evidence has emerged otherwise through surfaces.

There's a slight risk of catching the virus if it's living on a surface and a person touches that then their face. But the risk is low as coronaviruses have a poor survivability rate on surfaces. According to the CDC, "Coronaviruses survive for shorter periods of time at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments." Your location and climate alone can have an affect on coronaviruses. Nonetheless, it's an important reminder to continue washing your hands, sanitizing, and practicing safe social distances despite your region.

What does this mean for manufacturers and distribution? Many are panicking trying to overcome the unknowns of the disease and its effect on their businesses. Longer lead times, unknown ship times, and increased costs are just a few of the impacts thus far. With warmer spring weather in the midst, it is also unknown if the disease will decrease with increasing temperatures or when relief from the virus will be seen.

As a U.S. manufacturer, The Outdoor GreatRoom Company continues with its current short lead times, quick shipping reputation, and transparent communication. With the majority of products made right in our headquarters in Minnesota, we strive to get our high-quality products to you for those last-minute projects and mid-season shortages. Whether looking for a custom product or a popular fire pit table, customer satisfaction is a priority. With The Outdoor GreatRoom Company, our certainty in our products, prices, and processes remain strong so our customers can keep their peace of mind with us.

That being said, the company is currently closely watching state and federal updates and monitoring our best practices during this pandemic. The team and our health have remained a priority and focus. Most team members able to work from home are doing so, yet the team still remains diligent in their response times. Chat, email, and phone are all still available for contacting the team. Frequent sanitizing and cleaning practices have been implemented. Any sickness must be reported and team members are asked to stay home if sick or exposed to any sickness. Social distancing of at least six feet is practiced by all team members. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

We advise everyone to turn to the CDC website for up-to-date, accurate information on the coronavirus. Please contact OGC with any further product or lead time questions.