Faced with events as grave as they are today, our blog this week will strike a more somber tone. The rapid and devastating spread of coronavirus has rendered our world stricken. Nearly every country and everybody has been affected in some manner. Trying times indeed, but hope remains. Light can be found among the darkness, and it has been so encouraging to see individuals, communities, industries, and nations rally around each other and provide support where it’s needed most. This is true also of the furniture trade, which has admirably turned its hand to aid the fight against this virulent disease. So, for this week we will shine a light on just a few examples of how furniture companies are helping to combat Covid-19.

Faced with a lockdown on commercial trading, many of Britain’s bed manufacturers have joined the fight. Amongst these is Wakefield’s GNG Group. It has been granted Key Supplier Status by the country’s National Health Service (NHS). Their Healthcare Division, which typically manufactures medical mattresses and pressure care products, has seen a large spike in orders to help meet critical care needs. Managing Director Phil Whittell said GNG is “focusing all our production capacity on healthcare, transferring skilled staff from our Sports, Safety & Consumer Product divisions.” They presently have over eighty staff working round the clock to help meet demand. The firm is producing ten times its standard capacity for medical goods. Such is the desperate need for more hospital beds that the company has received six months’ worth of orders in only five days.  By restructuring their production capabilities, GNG has so far managed to rise to the challenge and meet demand.

Millbrook Beds in Southampton is another company that has joined the battle. It has halted production of its retail mattresses and has instead transferred its entire operational, manufacturing, and fleet capabilities over to the NHS and Ministry of Defense, providing a range of products and services.

Similar efforts are being made by furniture and bedding companies in the United States. The industry has united in its efforts to attain approval to produce much needed medical masks for hospital staff and first responders. Covid-19 has created a global shortage of these masks, leading to the U.S. government issuing an immediate order of over 600 million units. These will be produced by Honeywell International, 3M and Hanes Brands. However, US furniture leaders have expressed concern that the masks may not be produced and distributed in time to those who so desperately need them. Tim Dolan of TDI Worldwide, based in High Point, North Carolina, is spearheading this industry effort. “We want to help accelerate the production if possible because our industry might have the capabilities to do it,” Dolan ventured. Dozens of furniture and bedding companies have supported this action, along with a number of senators and congressmen. If they can quickly navigate the approval process of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration, they can begin making medical masks right away.  Dolan went on, “These are challenging times for all Americans. The furniture and bedding industries and their suppliers want to do our part; however we can, to help support our first responders and medical staff in this great country.”

Vietnam has led the way in dealing with this pandemic. Its government has acted swiftly and with great purpose to prevent the virus from spreading as quickly as it has elsewhere. As a consequence, local furniture factories have been able to remain operational. Our customers in the United States and in the United Kingdom are so grateful for their products being manufactured and shipped as normal.

Austin Home Interiors is doing its part to help mitigate the effects of coronavirus. Our fantastic team is working from home and following all the relevant government guidelines. We hope that all our customers, friends, and their families take care and stay safe during this difficult time.

From all of us at AHI, stay safe, and look out for one another

Our new showroom will open in due course, and in the meantime we are working with all our customers over the phone, on social media, or via email. We will soon be exclusively launching a brand new line collection from acclaimed US brand, John-Richard. Contact us via [email protected] to speak to one of our talented designers for more information.

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