Survey takes stock of R.I. manufacturers amid COVID-19 climate

PROVIDENCE – Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership conducted a survey of Rhode Island manufacturers and found that 36% would like to see social-distancing restrictions relaxed to improve their bottom line.

The survey, released Tuesday, also found that 26% would like to see no restrictions be lifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they would like visitor access and restrictions relaxed.

“The Rhode Island manufacturing sector appreciated the responsibility of remaining open during the lockdown, and they took employee safely seriously, for instance by quickly coalescing around the manufacturing pledge created by the R.I. Manufacturing Association” said Christian Cowan, Polaris MEP Center director. “That commitment is reinforced by our survey findings.”

“As much as the bottom line is important, the health of our state and residents are far more important,” wrote one Rhode Island manufacturer to Polaris MEP’s survey. “We would not want the current restrictions relaxed until it is deemed safe.”

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When asked about which areas of business manufacturers have been most impacted due to the virus, 62% said sales, while 13% said staffing and 9% said supply chain.

The survey also asked manufacturers that if the pandemic were to end abruptly, how fast businesses could return to a fully functioning state. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said less than one month. Another 29% of companies said one to three months. Those who said three to six months comprised of 17% of respondents, while 19% said six to 12 months and 6% said over one year.