How the Coronavirus impacts the hospitality industry

The World Health Organization has given an official name to the Coronavirus, COVID-19, which stands for “Coronavirus Disease 2019.” First discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in China at the end of 2019, the respiratory illness has resulted in more than 1,000 deaths, with over 42,000 people worldwide becoming infected. The Coronavirus is now considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization

Chinese Factory Shutdowns

Discovery of the quick-spreading disease occurred just before the 2020 Lunar New Year when Chinese factories were already set to shut down for two weeks. The emergence of the Coronavirus has resulted in many factories extending their closures, some for up to 14 days, and others leaving dates for reinstating production open-ended. 

This prolonged period of operational shutdowns is meant to prevent COVID-19 from further spreading and keep factory workers safe. Domestic and international vendors alike rely on Chinese manufacturers for both whole pieces of FF&E and individual components of hotel products, meaning that already lengthy lead times due to the Chinese New Year are becoming even longer.

Shipments from China

The Chinese government has made additional efforts to contain the Coronavirus by closing off a mass of the country’s shipping ports. As China is home to 7 of the 10 largest shipping ports in the world, this temporary lockdown is delaying a large number of shipment orders across all industries. Certain ports are allowing shipments to go through after a safe period of quarantine.

However, many boats loaded product prior to the port closures and began shipping once the sailors were officially cleared of being infected by or carriers of COVID-19. U.S. companies receiving these shipments are confident that all goods from these Chinese boats have no risk of transmitting the disease, as the Coronavirus cannot survive outside the human body after 48 hours, and the average shipment time is 18 days. 

Exact dates for reinstatement of China’s factories and shipping ports are unknown and subject to change as their government continually assesses how to best prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.