Texoma manufacturers are having discussions on the possible impact the COVID-19 pandemic could have on their ability to procure materials in the coming weeks as travel bans starting to go into effect.
Sherman Economic Development Corp. President Kent Sharp said employers are having discussions on what the near-term affects of the situation could have on the supply chains and what the area response should be.
“The last two weeks I talked to different plant managers. Everybody says as far as the local people nobody is having any physical effects yet. Everybody is talking about it,” Sharp said about the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is a little rumbling about the future. As of this week nothing significant, nothing even minor has affected our local companies. There is that caveat we don’t know what next week holds.”
Sharp said the markets took a big dive earlier in the week but were beginning to recover by Friday. He said he hadn’t seen anything like this since H1N1 in 2009.
“There has been no health impact as of yet,” Sharp said. ” The biggest concern aside from health is interruption of shipments. Suppliers are waiting to see what next week holds.”
Sharp said if the government shuts down ports or cuts off shipping it could have an impact.
“We’re operating as normal until somebody tells us different,” Sharp said. “Most of the ones I deal with we’ve been in communication with plant safety managers. We’re watching it pretty close. Next week we will meet with HR group we will find out if there is anything new then. I do know most of our companies have some sort of plan in place. All of our companies are following the CDC guidelines.”
The unknown variable is how likely the virus can spread over surfaces. He said the majority of discussions are human to human contact. He said nobody he knows is talking about the possibility of it spreading on physical goods.
Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai said he hasn’t seen any manufacturing firms taking any steps in response to COVID-19 in terms of shutting down or sending people home. He said he has seen some service businesses posting notes indicating an increased effort to sanitize facilities.
Kaai said every sector in the economy is still growing strong. However, he said there will be noticeable declines in the upcoming quarterly reports due to the impact of the virus.
Workforce Solutions Texoma Deputy Director Marsha Lindsay said she expects the pandemic to things could slow down in the local economy for the foreseeable future.
“Due to the pandemic issues this month, possibly spilling over into April/May, anticipate less dollars spent by customers in retail, restaurants, (and) hospitality areas,” Lindsay said in an email. “(We) may see larger events cancelled which will temporarily affect our tax revenue. However, this should be short-lived with the precautions that are being implemented across the state.