I just saw a Facebook post warning that business layoffs in the US are likely now from the slow-down of panic, without any remotely similar cause or condition as just occurred in China. That doesn’t make US business problems any less real or valid, just pointing out that a consumer spending slow-down and completely closing down a country for a month are two different kinds of things.
Here’s a tea-related article on that: Retail Impact of COVID-19 is Devastating for Tea and Coffee Shops in China and Italy. This isn’t a research post about that topic though; I’ll add a bit more first-hand impression. This more recent input about a return to normal is from Philip of Yiwu Mountain Tea:
I returned to Guangzhou as businesses are officially allowed to open under strict guidelines. everyone has to wear a face mask. I was temperature checked 5 times en route. I have to register electronically and get checked with my WeChat account whenever I arrive at a destination saying where I came from. At my business I am required to log and temperature check all visitors.
I also hear that there are offshore Chinese going through Thailand as there are no direct flights to Chinese destinations. Not that I think the risk is very high but then again you never know who is doing what abroad. The UK has seen a sudden rise in confirmed cases in the last couple of days.
The restrictions could seem like they might not go over well in the US, but we are doing exactly those kinds of things here in Bangkok now; just not consistently, and it’s not mandatory (but scaling up). The security guard at my office checks my temperature sometimes, just not always. In an earlier discussion comment (from before the re-opening mentioned in that comment) he had mentioned the other issue I’m getting into here: A secondary impact, also tied to tea status:
It’s been a very quiet month – normally a lot of new year feasting and visiting of distant relatives would be par for the course but this year it’s been more sit and chill and try not to think about the worst. We have elderly with poor health so we have to be extra cautious, especially with hospitals so poorly equipped in this region.
It’s also a case of worries since Spring tea will come soon and visitors may bring in dormant virus late, or nearly as bad, not come at all and lose income for the year. That would be a disaster for cash flow for everyone in the local tea biz. It’s also very likely that there will be a shortage of hired labour, and in combination with a very dry year so far, it’s going to another low production year even if people are ready to buy.
To be concluded in Chinese Tea Producers Talk About Coronavirus Experiences – Part 3