Update 4/10/2020: Charles River Apparel is still operational to support essential businesses. Our office employees are working remotely while our warehouse and decoration teams are staffed with the minimally appropriate number of employees required to support your business while remaining safe and healthy.
During this unprecedented time, Charles River's top priority is the health and safety of our employees, families, customers and community. We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking many actions to protect our team, yours, and all of our families, while also trying to do our part in minimizing the impact of the spread of the virus.
At this time, our focus and priority is on shipping 'essential orders' around the COVID19 crisis. To help us in this effort to support essential businesses, we ask that when possible, all non-essential orders be put on hold with a future ship date of May 4th or beyond so that we can continue to prioritize the orders going to individuals working on the front lines. We have a limited crew in the warehouse and want to do our part to support our essential customers. When contacting customer service, please let them know the future ship date (May 4th or later) for orders not deemed essential* until the State of Massachusetts is past the peak of contagion from this virus.
Since March 16th, more than 85% of our crew has been working remotely to support our customers and their essential business needs while practicing social distancing. The team has been embracing the 'new norm' conducting virtual presentations and updates to help support their customers. Our warehouse is working with a very small team of employees to support shipments of essential orders. Their safety and well-being is our top priority and we've taken several steps to ensure they are working in safe conditions. We currently average no more than a handful of employees of employees in the building at one time, ensuring that they are practicing social distancing while wearing the provided personal protective equipment.
Our focus is to continue supporting our customers with their essential needs while focusing on plans and programs to help them in the future. We've updated our Virtual Selling Tools and continue to engage with Zoom meetings, webinars and, virtual trade shows. We continue to have strong inventory and have done our best to maintain our same-day shipping when we can.
This week, in collaboration with a business partner, we received a container of 50,000 masks for distribution to employees, local charities, shelters, and hospitals. We're thankful to have the relationships with our oversees partners that allowed us to source and distribute these in a timely manner. We also have over 1,000 K95 masks that will be arriving shortly to be distributed to local hospitals. We are also working with a local partner to repurpose some of our apparel and create cloth masks. It is currently in the testing phases but all signs indicate that we will be able to start producing them in the very near future.
We've also shipped, and will continue to provide, thousands pieces of apparel to those in need. We recently shipped apparel to Friends of Boston's Homeless and continue to work with our charitable partners to identify needs and opportunities to help where we can.
WHAT IS DEEMED "ESSENTIAL"?
We recognize that many of our customers are operating as "essential" business so we trust that you are focused on doing what's right, just like we are. While we can't define what essential means to you, we see it as supporting those on the front line by providing apparel, primarily all-weather-gear, to keep them comfortable, safe, and protected during these difficult times. A few examples of essential orders we have received are jackets for the Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 first responders team as well as rain jackets for Boston Public Health.