The global outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus has disrupted the lives of millions including individuals and businesses in the vision industry. The following information has been collected to help members through these unprecedented times.
For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the evolving pandemic, click here.
On April 16, 2020, President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to reopen the national economy, known as the Opening Up America Again plan. The guidance document does not lay out a specific timeline for relaxing social distancing restrictions. Rather, it outlines a phased-in set of criteria to include testing, medical supplies, hospital capacity and more. This new proposal from the White House serves only as guidance to the States and is not binding. All reopening decisions ultimately will rest with each individual Governor at the local level.
Guidance for Eyecare Providers
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recently published the Optometry Practice Reactivation Preparedness Guide following the confirmation from CDC officials that the March 17 nationwide recommendation to postpone routine eye care is no longer in effect, and that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) specific guidance on reopening facilities to provide non-emergent and non-COVID-19 health care is in force.
Additionally, the AOA has created a state-by-state map outlining each state's reopening directive, anticipated date of reopening, notes on elective surgeries or routine care and optometric-specific guidelines.
The Vision Council's Sanitization Operating Assumptions
At the request of members as well as the industry at large, The Vision Council has created a compilation of information regarding best sanitization methods for products and packages to help as members prepare to reopen to serve their customers and patients.
U.S. Legislative Response to COVID-19
Throughout the pandemic, U.S. lawmakers have worked to provide emergency relief for individuals, families and businesses. The Vision Council has created a general analysis outlining all phases of the U.S. legislative response to COVID-19.
Additionally, on April 28, 2020, The Vision Council sent this letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell, Schumer and McCarthy on behalf of members to request various levels of support for the optical industry in the fourth stimulus package. The letter includes specific calls for support surrounding personal protective equipment (PPE), the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 testing and liability protection.
Shipping & Manufacturing
Members should continue to expect delays in shipping as well as production and should contact their manufacturers, suppliers and freight forwarders to determine the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their individual businesses. All freight modes continue to be impacted by the pandemic, particularly air freight due to dramatically rising rates caused by reduced capacity brought on by airlines' grounding flights. Courier services, such as FedEx, UPS and DHL, continue to experience route suspensions and other delays. Bottlenecks at ocean ports is also growing, as importers delay picking up cargo intended for still-closed retailers.
The CDC regularly issues updates regarding international and domestic travel. The latest recommendations can be found here.
Optical Market Research
The Vision Council's market research team is continuing to track the evolving eyewear and eyecare behavior of American consumers as well as members and eye care providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent reports can be found here.
The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions, organizers of Vision Expo, have announced the decision to cancel Vision Expo West 2020, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 23-26. Despite efforts to ensure the safety of everyone planning on attending Vision Expo West and a strong interest from the industry to participate, the decision has been made to cancel Vision Expo West 2020 as a result of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak's announcement on Monday, June 26 sharing that Nevada "will remain in Phase 2 of reopening plans through the end of July due to current trends of the coronavirus infection."
The information in The Vision Council's COVID -19 Implications update is derived from selected government and public sources. The Vision Council believes that the information comes from reliable sources, but does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness, which may be subject to change without notice.