For the latest advisories and health recommendations on how you can protect yourself and your family, please visit The World Health Organization at www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Our procurement team is in constant contact with our multinational network of over 400 suppliers, manufacturers, assemblers, distributors and other partners. While many local situations change daily, we can report the following current status updates:
In Beijing, authorities have stopped the spread of a second-wave outbreak that started two weeks ago, although our local delivery partners are reporting a slow resumption of shipments due to tight movement controls. In Australia, the Victoria-to-New South Wales border has been closed for the first time in 100 years, as a second-wave outbreak spreads in Melbourne. In countries across the region, our partners continue to make good progress on clearing delivery backlogs.
South American governments report high new case counts. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are still reporting daily increases, while cases in Peru, Chile and Ecuador continue to decline. Stricter lockdowns across the continent are affecting our team’s ability to safely deliver orders, and temporary shipping delays are occurring. In the Caribbean, quarantines also continue to delay shipments, affecting members in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Dominica, and in Antigua and Barbuda.
India and Pakistan
India has paused reopening the Taj Mahal as new infections continue to rise. This coincided with a report confirming the highest daily increase in cases – a rise of 24,904 infections, for a total of over 697,400 patients. A citywide lockdown in Chennai is lifting this week, new orders are increasing, and backorders are being cleared. Where allowable by law, many businesses continue to operate across the subcontinent, and members are seeing only limited delays for most new orders. However, India/China political relations continue to deteriorate after northern border skirmishes, with India now banning 59 Chinese mobile apps, including TikTok and WeChat. Import restrictions will temporarily affect stock levels on some of our popular brands. Across Pakistan, 15-day localized ‘smart lockdowns’ are being implemented wherever detected infections reach more than 1.5 cases per thousand people.
In just the last 4 days, 14 US states have reported record increases in new daily cases, as the country surges towards the 3 million case mark. In response, many states are rethinking their restart strategies and Florida, Texas and California are closing recently opened bars. Deliveries in some states are experiencing minor delays as our vendors work carefully to clear backlogs.
The Canada/U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travelers until at least July 21, cutting border traffic by 97%. All provinces have begun the staged reopening of businesses, and starting this week, facemasks have been made mandatory across the Toronto region. Our customers are seeing minimal impact on order delivery timeframes.
Africa and the Middle East
Three regions within Kuwait are easing their lockdowns this Thursday, with malls now open and businesses allowed to return to work at 30% capacity. Our warehouses can now reopen and backorders will begin clearing this week. Saudi Arabia has lifted most restrictions on travel, businesses and shopping across the country, and significantly restricted travel for this month’s Hajj. Members in South Africa, Israel, Nigeria and Oman continue to place orders and receive rewards without delays.
Cheers rang out across England and Ireland on Saturday as pubs and restaurants reopened for the first time since March 23. Revelers in Scotland will join the celebrations starting next week, while Wales awaits clearance. The Louvre, the world’s most visited museum, reopens today in Paris, as a local outbreak continues to flare. The Spanish government has ended its 3-month national state of emergency, enabling visa-free travel from any European country, although new infections in Catalonia and northwest Spain will limit movement for 270,000 people. As many schools have begun their summer vacation, the potential for more second wave, travel-related infections will increase. In anticipation of this, the European Union has banned all travelers from the United States, Russia and Brazil. So far, across Europe, most of our backlogs have been cleared, and new orders are shipping with minimal delays.
While many airlines are now flying reduced flight schedules, border restrictions and local arrival quarantines will still affect travel plans. Our travel team continues to receive many inquiries from members who are concerned about current travel bans and destination safety. We urge all members to visit the travel portion of their program site and review the cancellation policy that relates to their booking. If there is an opportunity to cancel directly on the website we would recommend doing so. If their travel is imminent, with the departure date outside of the cancellation policy window, please submit a cancellation request and we will work to see if a cancellation/refund is possible. Cancellations that would normally not qualify for a refund are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis with individual airlines, hotels and accommodations to support travelers during this time. If a member is currently at their destination and requires emergency assistance, they are encouraged to contact: (858) 999-8206 (MX Toll Free 800-681-5365, AU Toll Free 1-800-146-417, UK Toll Free 0-800-069-8735, JPN Toll Free 0800-222-1195)
Around the globe, event suspensions, postponements, cancellations, and other approaches are being announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some events that are suspended or postponed today may eventually be cancelled, but event promoters may take days, weeks, or even months to make a final decision. For events that have been cancelled (meaning the event will not be held at its scheduled time, or any time in the future, OR it will be held without patrons in attendance) the member is entitled to a full refund of the purchase price, including delivery charges. You, nor the member, need to take any action, as our customer service team will email you with full refund details. Given the number of events impacted, we've been advised that members can expect to receive refunds within 4 weeks. As of July 6, 2020, many major events have been cancelled, while others have been suspended or postponed, rather than cancelled. These events – and orders associated with them are in a “pending” state and are treated as postponements. Until they are cancelled, we cannot issue a refund. Should the events eventually be rescheduled, any tickets purchased will be valid for the rescheduled event – as per standard industry policy. If and when any suspended or postponed events become cancelled, we will issue a refund.
We’re proud of how our supply chain partners continue to adapt and respond to this global pandemic. Our Customer Service and Client Success teams are fully operational, with no impact on performance or order responsiveness. If you have questions about your business, please contact your Client Success Manager. If you have an urgent order inquiry, please contact your Customer Care Team.
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