“We decided to close for one month this morning,” said Ristevski in a press release. “With early news releases in China over the Wuhan Virus, and [after] talking with contacts I developed by going to InterTabac over the years, I was told they will be shutting down. We started importing the core line and what we could of Nuggs in mid February and 2 weeks after that to have a good 2-3 month supply [for] state side based sales. I was told this morning that there are 2 cases of cornavirus in Esteli, so we are closed for a minimum of one month. We feel the safety and the option to self-quarantine for the workers is important. We will do what we can to help out each employee.”
In the U.S., the coronavirus continues to disrupt many tobacco businesses. Many manufacturers have made the decision to postpone and reschedule several big events including Cigar International’s CigarFest, which has been postponed to Oct. 16-17, 2020, Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest rescheduled for Oct. 31, 2020, and Drew Estate’s Florida Barn Smoker rescheduled for Nov. 14, 2020. Manufacturers have grounded their sales representatives and staffs, asking them to work from home for the time being. Several states, including New York, California and Illinois, have all introduced new measures calling for residents work from home. Other cities throughout the U.S. have introduced similar restrictions, forcing many small businesses, including tobacconists and other tobacco retailers, to limit if not outright close their lounges to customers and resort to curbside or grab-and-go services.
The long-term impacts of COVID-19 remains unknown though the short term affects are already being felt. Many retailers are remaining optimistic and are adapting to what is becoming the new normal. Cigar Aficionado interviewed many retailers within the industry who have reported steady business despite having to shutdown their lounges or reduce hours and store access. You can read Cigar Aficionado‘s full report here.
For all the latest news and updates regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the latest information here.