Coronavirus Special

COVID-19 and the garment decoration industry

At the beginning of the year coronavirus was a word that was on no-one’s radar. Fast forward a few months and the virus is now present in 210 countries around the world, with more than two million confirmed cases. And on Monday, March 23 life in the UK changed beyond all recognition. Here we examine the impact on the garment decoration industry.


ike many, you will have probably heard the phrase COVID-19 and not actually know or understand what it means.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered strain of coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. The virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. At the time of writing, there have been more than 120,000 confirmed cases in the UK and of those hospitalised who have tested positive for coronavirus, more

than 16,000 have sadly passed away from this invisible enemy.

Combating the spread To try and combat the spread of the virus throughout the UK, on Monday, March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street and issued the following order – you will only be able to leave your house for one of four reasons: ● Shopping for necessities. ● Once a day for exercise. ● Medical need or providing care. ● Travelling to or from work (if you can’t work from home).

Even when following the above guidance, it was advised that people should minimise the amount of time spent outside their homes and keep two metres away from people they do not live with. All non-essential shops shut instantly, as well as bars, restaurants, gyms and places

of worship closing their doors. A new way of living and working began overnight. These restrictions were extended for a further three weeks on Thursday, April 16. The impact on the garment decoration industry was almost instantaneous. By the end of the first week of lockdown, four major garment distributors took the decision to temporarily suspend deliveries and shipments, following the Government’s advice for all non-essential businesses to close to reduce the risk of unnecessary contact.

In a series of online statements posted online that week, PenCarrie, Prestige Leisure UK, Ralawise and Absolute Apparel all stressed that the health and well-being of their employees and the wider community was of utmost importance.

As the situation has progressed and developed over the weeks, these distributors slowly reopened their doors to

Companies produce PPE to help H

Companies across the printwear and promotional sector have turned their hand to manufacturing face masks and other personal protective equipment to help in the global fight against COVID-19.

to help: ● Over in the States, Fruit of the Loom and Bella Canvas have started to manufacture protective masks for healthcare professionals working on the front line. In a video released online, Bella Canvas stated that it was capable of manufacturing 100 million masks weekly at its production facility in Los Angeles, using human touch-free production. ● Gildan Activewear has received permission from the Honduran government to partially reopen one of its textile facilities to produce the fabric needed for non-medical face masks and isolation gowns. The company will also open one of its sewing facilities in

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ere are just a few examples of what companies are doing around the world

Honduras for the assembly of the products. ● Leamington Spa-based Gravograph has enlisted the help of its network and customer base to make NHS- approved face masks. Laser users can contact Gravograph to receive practical

information, such as DXF cut files to produce the masks. If your laser is currently sitting idle, get in touch to find out how you can help. ● PF Concept has started

PPE masks being cut at Gravograph’s showroom

production on its first PF manufactured healthcare product – a plastic strap to hold face masks in place behind the wearer’s head. They were developed by the UK team in just one week. These will be supplied to NHS staff working at

the new NHS Nightingale hospitals. ● Kingly has set up its Sofia production line to provide anti-bacterial and hygiene packs for medical staff in Europe, starting off with Spanish hospitals, which have been among the

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