Disposable gloves will play essential role in reopened economy

In the reopened economy, gloves will be required almost universally for restaurants.
Restrictions placed on businesses during the COVID-19 shutdown have been eased, at least partially. What business and governmental leaders are learning, however, according to The Wall Street Journal, is the new economic reality in the age of coronavirus: Being open for business is almost as hard as being closed.

Facing higher costs to keep workers and customers safe, businesses are forced to make significant changes to their operating models to maintain a profit, the Journal reported. Some are cutting services and jobs; others are raising prices, including imposing coronavirus-related fees aimed at getting customers to share some of the expenses.

The changing face of business

All of them will have to face a “new normal” in terms of how they deal with day-to-day operations, especially involving disposable gloves and other personal protective equipment.

For restaurants, indoor diners have returned wearing required face masks. Servers change disposable gloves after running every dish. Dishwashers wear face shields to keep potentially coronavirus-contaminated water from splashing them. And glove-wearing chefs move in tight quarters, the Miami Herald reports, where the idea of social distancing is aspirational at best.

Businesses from Massachusetts to Missouri to California are facing myriad regulations that will impact their profits and influence how they do business moving forward. In addition to the facemasks already cropping up across the country, disposable gloves are likely to be required by numerous customer-facing operations from banks to retail shops to grocery stores.

Demand for disposable gloves will only grow

Service workers such as electricians, plumbers, and home-repair specialists can expect to wear gloves when entering anyone’s house. And because healthcare professionals recommend changing gloves (and washing hands) frequently to limit the spread of COVID-19, the number of gloves worn during an average day is likely to increase exponentially.

Demand for disposable gloves, already at astronomical levels, will only continue to increase. With supply lagging significantly behind demand as manufacturers struggle to keep up, more shortages (and much higher prices) loom in the near future.

No one knows how reopening the economy will play out, of course. It is likely that Americans will be more conscious of health and hygiene than at any time in the nation’s history. The next 12 to 18 months will prove critical in determining where the disposable glove and PPE industries are headed.

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