No need to tell you we are living in some surreal times right now. The affects of the COVID-19 virus have had impacts on all of us in a variety of ways. Many are homebound, everyone is (or should be) practicing “social distancing”, and we are being informed 24/7 with updates on the infection rate, where the “hotspots” are, and the need for personal protection equipment for our fantastic doctors, nurses, and health care workers who in many cases are putting their personal well-being aside for the good of us all.
It is a fast-changing situation, no doubt! As of the end of the day last Friday, our offices were closed to visitors and vacated by our staff. Our understanding at the time was that our services were pretty much shutdown in both NY and PA through directives by Governor Tom Wolf (PA) and Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY). Our operations in WV were in limbo as well, as Governor Justice was gathering data to make his decision on business operations in the state.
However, over the weekend and through the efforts of several forestry associations, related organizations, government representatives and the individual appeals made by many in the forestry industry, all three governors released foresters, loggers, sawmills, pulp/paper manufacturers and now secondary wood products manufacturers to continue working – under prescribed COVID-19 guidelines. The US Department of Homeland Security also issued the opinion that the forestry sector is “essential” to the well-being of the nation.
So, Forest Industry and Supporting Services are now deemed “essential,” and rightly so. Foresters, loggers, sawmills, pulp/paper mills and secondary wood products manufacturers make up the supply chain that provides the much-needed paper masks, hospital gowns, structural material for emergency medical site construction, and shipping pallets for delivery of ventilators and a host of other needed supplies. We are proud, and certainly feel blessed, to be able to continue to do our part in this major effort to combat this situation.
It’s been amazing to see the private sector working with the public sector to do what is necessary to knock down this virus. Auto plants, electronics manufacturers, even garment manufacturers are re-tooling to produce the personal protection equipment and medical machines for the anticipated needs over the next few weeks. This is a resilient country and we are a resilient people.
We will continue to operate at FORECON to serve the needs of our clients and the country. The COVID-19 guidelines have created a few logistical challenges, but we are aware that they are necessary to keep our staff, our clients and our communities safe and on the road to recovery. There is some positive news out there, including market news, that we will address in another post.
Until then, please stay safe, please adhere to the recommended COVID-19 guidelines, and please know FORECON is here to help you in any way possible. We are walking this road with you!
John Gifford, ACF