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Daily COVID-19 Updates: May 15

May 15, 2020
Reopening, in Fits and Starts; Navigating a Patchwork of Regulations; Executives Predict 10% Manufacturing Shrinkage

More than half of the states in the country have now begun to reopen their economies. Most are starting with small: barbershops, limited retail. Others are taking larger steps by reopening bars, nightclubs, and other areas of gathering. In manufacturing, GM and Ford are looking to Monday, May 18 as the date to resume much of their regular vehicle assembly functions.

As with much of the coronavirus, the impact of this staggering reopening will not be clear immediately or even in a few days. While medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NAIAD, warn that a hasty or disorganized reopening could open the door to a new outbreak and avoidable deaths, the full truth of their remarks won’t become clear until it is most likely too late to prevent a second wave.

In practice, the United States is currently conducting a scientific experiment on itself to see if the first wave of quarantine orders implemented over the course of April was a strong enough dose to prevent the virus from resurging. For better or worse, time will show whether or not the experiment worked.

Navigating a Patchwork of Regulations

The reopening of the manufacturing economy is likely to be a messy one. The hands-off federal approach means that many states and regions may have different standards. By all accounts, it’s a complex situation for manufacturing executives, but not an impossible one to navigate. Sam Moses and Claire Hall, two attorneys with Parker Poe’s Manufacturing & Distribution Industry team, help advise conflicted manufacturers about the best path toward resuming operations in an orderly, legal, and safe way. Read the full story here.

ISM Semiannual Report Predicts Manufacturing Will Shrink

According to the latest report from the Institute for Supply Management, the manufacturing sector will shrink over the course of 2020 as average firm revenue falls by 10.3% and capital expenditures fall 19.1%. In December, before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, survey respondents predicted 4.8% revenue growth for the sector.

“With 15 of the 18 manufacturing sector industries—including five of the six big industry sectors—predicting revenue declines for 2020, panelists forecast that recovery will likely not occur until near the end of the year,” said ISM Chair Timothy Fiore. 58% of respondents predicted their company’s revenue would fall an average of 21%. Read the full story here.

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