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Laundry Sector: Long Term Impacts of COVID-19


When COVID-19 landed in the United States, businesses didn’t know the extent of how 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.

And 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-19 infections. This lack of business significantly impacted 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.

For now, the laundry sector is trying to get back up to speed. One way that laundry businesses can plan for this boost is through comprehensive insurance covered 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, pollution, 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 and waiting for their orders to head back to the office, the need to head to the dry cleaner and laundry mat 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 minimizes the number of employees working during operating hours, requiring the few left to pick up the slack with additional tasks.

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. A $25-million loss in hotel room revenue is evident in rooms that do not need to service or washing. Nationwide, dry cleaners and laundry services hit their deepest losses 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 has only generated 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 and guests from contracting the virus? While laundry sector businesses have been dealing with cold and flu season over year, trying to find safety against COVID-19 is new.

COVID-19 has brought attention to the fact that transmission might be evident between employees working a shift. Measures put in place by laundry sector businesses now play a significant role in the future to keep 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 on break.
  • 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 with customers and other staff.

Making Modern Modifications

When COVID-19 hit, restaurants started offering curbside and delivery instead of dine-in services. The same is true about the laundry sector. The need for an alternative to traditional laundry services in the industry is more important than ever before. This has been 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 the delivery of their clothing. These services operate by sending couriers to pick up items from customers, clean them, and deliver them right back at a preferred site and time. This method reduces the need to meet face to face. Instead, contactless services allow employees and clients alike to stay healthy.

About Irving Weber Associates

At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful restaurant business. Our Restaurant Advantage Program ensures that they are financially protected against claims, and offers comprehensive insurance coverages including General Liability, Liquor Liability, Property Liability, Food Contamination, Delivery Errors & Omissions, Commercial Auto and many more. For a detailed look at how we can help you safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our experts today at (800) 243-1811.