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Laundry Sector: Long Term Impacts of COVID-19

When the coronavirus landed in the United States, businesses didn’t know to what extent it would affect our daily lives. Would it get a handful of people sick and cause notice from our local health organizations? Or, would it spread throughout the country and shut down our schools, businesses, entertainment, restaurants, and more? Unfortunately, it was the latter.

It wasn’t just businesses that came to a halt; weddings, business trips, anniversary celebrations, religious holidays, proms, graduations, and more were all nixed as states stopped large gatherings amid the surge of COVID infections. This decimated the laundry sector, causing a struggle among the industry’s business owners.

Since this spring, Americans from coast to coast have stayed indoors to slow the spread of the virus, which means that scheduled trips to the dry cleaners or the laundromat came to a halt. But now, as the pandemic is slowing and people start to get back to their lives in a new standard, laundry businesses are ready to serve.

At this point, the laundry sector is trying to get back up to speed while planning for the future. One way that laundry businesses can plan is through comprehensive insurance coverage offered by Irving Weber. Our FabriCare Advantage plan helps laundry clients stay protected from a broad range of risks and provides targeted protection, including liability insurance, business interruption, EPLI, Cyber, and more.

From the economic outlook to how laundry services plan to operate, here’s a look at the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the laundry sector.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Laundry Sector

As many Americans are still working from home, waiting for their orders to head back to the office, the need to run to the dry cleaner and laundromat is limited. If there’s not enough business coming in, some staff has to be let go or have their hours limited to keep the business running. This also thins out the number of workers needed and leads to more tasks required by each employee.

When it comes to commercial laundry, the economic effect is noticeable. For instance, as travel has slowed, our country’s hotels have seen less laundry services. A $25-million loss in room revenue is evident in rooms not needing to be serviced or laundered. Nationwide, dry cleaners and laundry services hit their lowest record in the middle of April. The sector saw an average retail sales drop of 80 percent compared to 2019 rates. Since then, the industry has started coming back but is only generating 50 percent of the average sales revenue.

Protecting Employees

COVID-19 has made everyone look at another portion of the laundry sector: How do businesses protect their employees from each other and guests? While laundry sector businesses have dealt with cold and flu season each year, ensuring safety against COVID-19 is novel.

COVID-19 has brought attention to the fact that transmission might be plausible between employees working a shift. Measures put in place by laundry sector businesses now play a significant role in the future in keeping everyone healthy.

Here are some changes some businesses have made to protect their employees from each other:

  • Increased cleaning of the break room and spacing employees out while in the store.
  • Employees adhering to social distancing rules, staying at least six feet apart from each other.
  • Employees wearing masks and gloves throughout their entire shift, and washing their hands thoroughly whenever possible.
  • Wiping down machinery with sanitizing wipes at every break or when employees rotate to other machines.
  • Hand sanitizer at every workstation. Employees clean their hands more when it’s readily available to them.
  • Having hand sanitizer stations for guests and requiring them to wear masks.
  • Temperature checks of all employees when their shift starts.

These small, yet effective, changes have made employees more comfortable working together and promotes safety for their customers.

Making Modern Movements

When COVID-19 hit, restaurants started offering curbside and delivery instead of dine-in services. The same is said about the laundry sector. The need for an alternative to traditional laundry services in the industry is more important than ever before. This is executed through mobile apps that cater to the growing need for an on-demand take on laundry.

Mobile laundry apps let customers order their service remotely, share their preferences, and request their clothing delivery. These services operate by sending couriers to pick up items from customers, clean, and deliver them right back at a preferred site and time. This cuts out the need to meet face to face and exchange hands. Instead, contactless services allow people to remain safe.

About Irving Weber Associates

At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful Dry Cleaner, Commercial/Textile Service or Laundromat business, including investing in a comprehensive Fabricare Advantage Insurance Program to ensure that you are financially protected against legal claims. Our program includes specialty coverages including Environmental and General Liability, Property, Site Pollution Liability, Boiler & Machinery, Business Auto, and many more. For a detailed look at how we can safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our specialists today at (855) 764-7406.