Major events are being canceled, schools are closing and many people who can are working from home for the foreseeable future. As the U.S. continues to shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus, glass-related manufacturing, production and installation are pushing on, with companies putting new policies into place to maintain a healthy and safe work environment.
Crystal Window & Door Systems has several locations, including Flushing, N.Y., Chicago and Riverside, Calif. With its headquarters in New York City, an area feeling especially impacted by the virus, company leadership has put several new policies in place to protect employees, vendors and customers.
Bob Nyman, a spokesperson for the company, says there are limited work-from-home opportunities considering the nature of the work. However, Crystal is staggering its lunch room shifts so there are fewer than eight people to a table. The company has also increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the day. Some maintenance staff have been shifted to keep up with the cleaning needs.
“The company is seeing challenges getting cleaning supplies,” says Nyman, adding that he expects this to be less of a challenge going forward as suppliers catch up with the demand.
The company is encouraging increased handwashing, recommending that sick employees stay home and encouraging delivery drivers to wear masks when engaging with the public.
Crystal has also created an executive critical response team which will meet daily to assess the situation. It is cutting back on large company meetings and teleconferencing where possible. The company is also postponing noncritical meetings with outside vendors or customers.
Nyman says president Steve Chen has also reached out to its health insurance and workers’ compensation vendors to ask for recommendations.
It’s unclear how the public school closure in New York City will impact Crystal’s workers there. Nyman says the company hasn’t felt any major impacts on production or in getting materials and suppliers. However, he says the company is starting to see a slight drop off in residential products in California. He attributes this to the stock market drop and says the company is monitoring whether this becomes a trend.
C.R. Laurence (CRL), based in Los Angeles, will be changing its will call service practices until March 30 in response to social distancing guidelines. The company will not accept orders placed in person at its service centers. Instead, the company strongly recommends that orders be placed for UPS shipping to eliminate the need to visit its service centers. For those who cannot do UPS shipping, the company will work to accommodate them.
CRL will also close its service centers on Saturdays until further notice to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“Please also note we have instituted an aggressive policy where any employee who exhibits symptoms of illness or have reported potential exposure to a confirmed or potentially contaminated individual have been placed on self-quarantine and will not be at work. We respectfully ask you follow the same guidelines for you and your staff. If you’re not feeling well, please opt for UPS shipping and limit contact with other people,” reads a company statement.
Glazing contractor Giroux Glass has offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. The company is urging all employees to stay home if sick and asks them to self-quarantine for 14 days if they know they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. The company also has implemented a no-handshake policy, recommends frequent handwashing and is asking all employees to avoid unnecessary interpersonal contact.
Barbara Kotsos, director of marketing for the company, says recent rainy weather has proved to have a larger impact on its jobsites than the virus.
“Some of our exterior projects are on hold until the weather clears up,” she says.
However, Los Angeles has mandated all restaurants close dining in options. Kotsos says Giroux’s Los Angeles location is having food delivered and employees are bringing in their own lunches in the meantime.
FeneTech Inc. and FeneTech Europe announced that the companies will be executing projects remotely as much as possible until further notice while following its local government policies regarding travel.
Hartung Glass Industries, based near Seattle, another area heavily impacted by the pandemic, also has been monitoring the situation closely. The company sent out an email to customers letting them know that it’s ensuring workplaces are clean, that surfaces and objects are disinfected regularly, promoting regular handwashing, encouraging employees with even minor symptoms to self-isolate and discouraging non-essential business travel.
IGE Glass Technologies emailed customers ensuring them that the company has an extensive stock of spare parts, tooling and supplies at its Jupiter, Fla., warehouse for all of its equipment lines, and has a service team on the ready to provide support.
“We have a contingency plan in place to support our customers from a remote location in the unlikely event that our area and our employees do become impacted by this,” reads the email.
It is unclear what long-term effects the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the glass and glazing industry and the U.S. economy; however, many companies are continuing production and work on jobsites. USGNN™ will provide further updates as the situation evolves.