With each passing day, the number of coronavirus infections in Europe continue to escalate rapidly, leading to increasingly extensive measures to contain the virus. Yesterday, the EU announced that it would be closing all external borders for 30 days. Within the 27-nation bloc, members can still travel with some restrictions, and overseas Europeans will be able to return.
This comes after Canada announced the closure of its borders to everyone apart from Canadian and US citizens.
The Swiss government issued a recommendation to all citizens to remain at home, especially the sick and elderly. Following that, Patek Philippe issued an announcement regarding the closure of its all of its production sites and Head Office from March 18 to 27. Their press announcement is as follows:
In consideration of the very severe COVID-19 situation we are facing as a company and as a nation, and to protect our dedicated professionals and their families, Patek Philippe has decided to shut down all its production sites and close all its Head Office activities from March 18, 2020 through March 27, 2020. The reopening date may be reevaluated depending on the evolution of the epidemic.
In this climate, as a family company, our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been and are being affected by this unprecedented event. We also feel very grateful for the healthcare workers, local communities, and everyone around the world who are on the front lines struggling to contain this coronavirus.
Keeping everyone’s safety top of mind at all times will help us to navigate this challenging period and by doing this we may contribute to the stabilization of the situation, hoping that we will be able to safely revert to our activities as soon as possible.
At the same time, Hublot announced the closure of its Nyon manufacture indefinitely, until the situation improves. Their press announcement is as follows:
We are going through a period of crisis unprecedented in our recent history, with the expansion of COVID-19.
The Federal Council, the Government of Switzerland, yesterday announced more stringent measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular strict restrictions on movement applicable from today. This has led us to adapt our latest instructions to this new situation, with the same ongoing objective: protecting our employees and their families.
By way of precaution, and to protect our personnel, we have decided to go beyond our government’s current recommendations, and close our manufacture’s production site for the time being. This is a temporary measure that will be applied until further notice.
It is our hope that this decision will help comply with the need to reduce travel, as communicated by the public authorities, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect all of our citizens.
We are confident in our ability to overcome this crisis, together.
Hublot’s action follows yesterday’s leaked memo from Rolex that it would be closing facilities in Geneva, Bienne and Crissier for 10 days. It’s one measure among many that other brands have taken to support victims of the coronavirus epidemic so far.
Bvlgari, Hublot’s sibling within the LVMH Watch and Jewelry Division, has taken a different move by making a substantial contribution to the Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital, Italy’s Institute for Infectious Diseases based in Rome.
Meanwhile, Jack Ma, Asia’s richest man, has generously donated 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and 1 million N95 masks to the US. His charitable foundation, Alibaba Foundation, has similarly supported other countries severely hit by COVID-19, from Iran to Spain, Italy and Korea.
So while the outlook may appear gloomy for now, it’s heartening to see that many, including major brands in the industry, are taking big steps to protect their staff and countr(ies).