Despite quarantine and stay-at-home measures still in place in Mexico and across the globe aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, plans are being carried out togradually reopen several key areas of industry in accordance with strict protocols, with a priority placed on activities deemed as essential. Though governments across the world have varying definitions of what is considered as “essential,” as well as different restrictions on commerce, and a wide range of requirements in place in the face of constantly-changing health situations, they are all developing and implementing new strategies to resume economic activities in phases, and with this, begin to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on industry, national and international economies, and global supply chains.
In Mexico, with increasing concern regarding the impacts of the executive order in effect since March 24 shutting down all non-essential activities on international companies in Mexico, as well as its business partners in the US and across the globe, especially the automotive industry Mexico,the government has recently decided to expand its definition of essential activities to include the automotive, construction and mining sectors. This means that as of May 18, these businesses are allowed to partially reopen to begin developing and implementing safety and health measures that will allow them to fully reopen as of June 1. It is important to keep in mind that this information, and all changes to the definition of essential service and any industry-specific restrictions, depends on both the health situation in each area of Mexico, as well as market and supply chain demands, and as such, are subject to change at any time.
Prior to this, and similar to the US, Canada, and other countries, only activities and services related to the operations of infrastructure (tollway operation and road maintenance), transportation services (air, rail, maritime, port and federal road transportation), communication, courier and post services, healthcare and paramedic services, supermarkets convenience stores, gas stations, hardware stores, construction (in some areas only for critical projects), and logistics and government social programs, were deemed as essential, and therefore allowed to continue operating. All other companies were required to either allow their employees to work remotely when possible, or place them on paid leave until restrictions are lifted.
In the United States, although the federal government did not implement country-wide restrictions on industry or commerce, many states, such as California and New York, which have been hit especially hard by the virus, have implemented mandatory stay-at-home orders, effectively halting all other commerce and industrial activity. These measures are now gradually being lifted and safety and social distancing guidelines implemented aimed at protecting workers as the economy is gradually reopened. Safety measures include providing risk assessments for operations, outdoor break areas, training for employees on how to limit the spread of the virus, and requiring warehouses carry sanitation materials and personal protective equipment (PPE) for each stop on delivery routes.
In Europe, and especially China, industry and the economy have come to a standstill due to strict quarantine measures preventing large segments of the population from leaving their homes and prohibiting all travel. In general, this has been done in the EU in each member State, and throughout China, strict containment measures have been implemented in various areas as new outbreaks of the virus occur. This has resulted in major supply chain disruptions due to workers’ being quarantined or in lockdown, making it impossible for them to travel to their workplaces.
Though no one can predict how and when activities will be able to resume, what restrictions will be implemented or removed in the future and in what countries, or how this will affect global supply chains, it is clear that a new normal is beginning to appear. Strict health and safety protocols and regulations are being tested, implemented, and adopted both in society at large and across all industries that will apply to not only workplaces, but also extend to employees’ homes, and to society in general.
By Isaías Rivera | Mkt & Business Development Manager | American Industries Group®
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