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Utah factories picking up work from Chinese factories shut down from COVID-19

Posted at 7:09 PM, Mar 02, 2020

After Chinese New Year, about 30 percent of Lifetime Products' workers out in China did not come back to work.

Now, those working here in Utah are picking up the slack.

President and CEO of the company, Richard Hendrickson, said manufacturing came to a halt when only 300 of their 800 Chinese employees returned to their factory in Mainland China due to the outbreak of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus.

“To have the Chinese government lock everybody down in place like they did and as long as they did has definitely been a first for us in the 30 years that we’ve been in business,” said Hendrickson.

The normally busy streets now look very quiet and still, but back in Utah, it’s anything but quiet.

“We’ve got every product being made as fast as we can,” said Hendrickson. “We do have to cover for the capacity lost out of Asia.”

Shelves won’t look empty right away, but Hendrickson said certain items will start disappearing from stores while companies catch up with weeks worth of work.

Ninety percent of Hendrickson’s workers in China have now returned to work in the factory, but he said it’s too early to be overconfident the impacts of COVID-19 are over.

The biggest focus for Hendrickson and his company: staying clean.

“Wiping down computer screens, wiping down your working surfaces, washing your hands, the full 20-second hand washing practices,” said Hendrickson.

Depending on what happens with COVID-19 in the United States, Hendrickson said they should have everything back up to speed within three months.