COVID-19: West Marine closes or reduces store hours; Dometic Marine and Viking Yachts cease production; Aspen Power Catamarans adjust production

The industry continues to react to coronavirus.
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Viking Yachts, which will cease production at their New Jersey facility for at least two weeks, provided assistance for employees who would be affected by the shut-down.

Viking Yachts, which will cease production at their New Jersey facility for at least two weeks, provided assistance for employees who would be affected by the shut-down.

West Marine will close stores or adjust retail store hours in certain markets, and will shutter its Watsonville, Cali. Service Center for at least two weeks, enabling associates to work remotely.

To decrease store traffic and promote social distancing, the company will ship items directly to customers. This will also allow an uptick in cleaning store locations.

It also is updating its policies to offer flexible work options to associates.

It will still move ahead with its annual “super sale,” said CEO Ken Seipel in a statement.

“This event was planned and promoted long before we learned about social distancing and other health/safety practices,” said Seipel. “While we considered canceling the sale, we have heard from customers across the country that they are planning to get on the water for both recreational and health reasons. We will take all appropriate precautions to manage this event.”

Store managers have been instructed to operate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, encourage online shopping and assist customers with door pick-up or direct-to-home delivery, said Seipel. The company says it will maintain a six-foot radius rule for employees and customers and have instructed store managers to monitor and limit store access if needed.

Viking Yachts also shuttered its factory for at least 14 days while the area grappled with the pandemic.

Dometic Marine’s Limerick, Penn., facility will close to help slow the spread of the virus, but other marine facilities will remain open.

Formerly known as SeaStar Solutions, Dometic announced on Friday that it will abide by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s order that all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in the state close down for an undetermined period of time to help stem the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We recognize the impact this closure will have on our employees, their families, customers and community at large,” said Dometic Marine president Eric Fetchko in a statement. “As painful and disruptive as this is, it is something that must be done to slow the spread of Coronavirus and protect our families, our state, our nation and the world. If we all do our part, follow the directives of our local government and the CDC, and help one another whenever we can, we’ll come out of this crisis sooner rather than later.”

Aspen Power Catamarans, which is based in the Skagit Valley of Washington State, has adjusted its policies to help slow the spread of the virus in a region that has seen just 14 confirmed cases.

In late January, the company purchased a three-month supply of components from China, began cleaning “touch points” daily, and increased ventilation in the facility, according to a letter from Aspen Power Catamarans owner Larry Graf. 

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