The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, sparked national attention following several confirmed cases in the United States. The virus, which originated in China, has already killed more than 4,000 people worldwide, according to CNN, –Several in the auto glass industry have spoken out about the virus and how it is affecting operations. There is no specific Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) standard covering COVID-19. However, some OSHA requirements may apply to preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19.
“Regardless of the reactions–or overreactions–to the Coronavirus, one thing is certain business will go on and some will thrive and others won’t,” said Korey Gobin, Delta Kits sales manager.
“I think the Coronavirus will impact our industry, how much depends on the extent of its growth over time,” said Bob Beranek, Automotive Glass Consultants, Inc. founder and president. “There are no assurances that it will disappear when the weather turns warm or that it will continue to grow until a vaccine is found.”
“If it [disappears when the weather gets warmer], the industry will experience a minor downturn depending on how far into the spring the virus continues to infect new persons,” said Beranek. “If it ends soon, summer vacations will not suffer and driving vacations versus flying vacations may make up for the downturn in replacements.”
Since no one knows when the virus to cease, some businesses have started reminding their employees to practice sanitary safety, thoroughly washing their hands, coughing into their arms or tissues and even staying home if they are believed to have the virus’ symptoms.
“I think having information ready and available via online documents will be critical so repair and replacement technicians can offer customers the option to have non-contact jobs performed if the customer desires,” Gobin said. “Other than that all we can do at this point is to continue to monitor the situation closely.”
“Heaven forbid that it continues to grow. If the virus continues exponentially throughout 2020, then our industry is in for very bleak times,” Beranek said. “Businesses will conduct layoffs to make up for lagging sales and disposable income will not be available to pay for necessities let alone glass replacement.”
Some auto glass manufactures are lowering their prices to reduce inventory, according to Beranek. “Though, this may sound good to those who buy the glass for resale, they need customers to buy the parts to install,” he added.