It’s no surprise at this point that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has taken a huge toll on both large and small businesses on a global scale. Entire industries have been forced to take extreme measures in slowing productions, while others were met with a screeching halt. The cigar industry received no exemptions to the far-reaching arms of this pandemic.
Nicaragua is the world’s leading producer of handmade cigars, and at the time this story was written, had only suffered one coronavirus-related death. Many of the country’s cigar factories shutdown for a week or two, but have since reopened - with additional safety precautions put in place. Some factories are running at reduced capacity regarding staff, while others are practicing strict social distancing guidelines. Still the majority of these factories are doing their part in requiring employees to sanitize their hands frequently as well as wearing protective face masks.
Neighboring country Honduras, another major producer in the cigar industry, is seeing much stricter protocols put in place in the midst of the pandemic. All cigar factories have been shut down since March 17th as part of the government’s order to temporarily close all non-essential businesses - this has created an enormous dip in the country’s cigar production. Many factory owners are hoping to resume business by May 1st, and are eagerly waiting for the green light to reopen. Luckily most factories have a handful of workers continuing to oversee the fermentation process of the cigars to ensure the staff can hit the ground running when factories are allowed to proceed with production.
Although the United States is only a minor player in the handmade cigar industry, they too are still affected by the virus outbreak. Due to safety protocols and regulations being determined on a state-level, there is a very diverse impact on businesses across the country. J.C. Newman out of Tampa, Florida is luckily able to continue their production of handmade and machine-made cigars. They have taken appropriate precautions including social distancing, personal protective equipment, and implementing alternating shifts to lessen the contact between staff members.
Although the cigar industry is taking a hit, we are happy to hear about the precautions that countries and businesses are taking in order to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. This pandemic has affected countries across the world and hopefully, when this is all over, we can all light up a cigar in celebration.