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Service pros needed now more than ever

By Marcelle Dibrell

181 days have passed since the United States recorded its first case of a confirmed Covid-19 patient at press time. The world has 15.3 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 624,000 total deaths. The U.S. has reached 4.04 million confirmed cases, and a total death toll of 145,000 attributed to the disease.

On July 22, the U.S. was finding 64,534 new cases a day and losing 1,082 people per day. The number of new cases has grown steeply, and reached its record high on July 16, when the country found 77,255 new cases.

New York state continues to lead the country in both total cases and deaths: 412,889 and 32,218 respectively. But in California, infections have piled up at an alarming rate, where the state is finding 10,171 new cases per day. On July 21, California had nearly caught up with New York’s total cases at 410,366 but not total deaths – 7,883. Texas and Florida are close behind.

There is some hope on the horizon: biotech companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced they will supply the federal government with 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine under a $1.95 billion dollar deal, provided it is successfully developed and approved. It would be available to Americans at no cost.

This is welcome news as the current number of U.S. hospitalizations has again reached mid-April’s peak number of 59,316.

Covid-19 continues to impact the U.S. economy but according to the July 17, 2020, report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the national unemployment rate declined over the month of June to 11.1 percent, which is still 7.4 points higher than June 2019.

4.8 million people returned to work in June and Marketplace.org says 30 percent of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. Those industries are once again in trouble because of the steep rise in Covid cases. At the end of June, for example, Texas Governor GregAbbot issued an executive order shuttering those businesses again. Restaurants have to operate at half capacity. Bars have to shut down completely.

With so manyAmericans unemployed, it is difficult to fathom that any industry could thrive, but the pool and spa industry has never been so hard at work.

Just about every major news source has reported there has been an exceptionally high demand for personal swimming pools this spring and summer.

Alan Smith, a builder of high-end pools in Orange, California, reported that his crew is as busy as ever.

“We’re getting 15 to 20 leads a day for remodels,” Smith said.

Google trends show that the search term “swimming pool” reached 100 percent in late May and early June. According to Google, interest in pools always peaks around this time of year, but this is the highest it has ever been.

Aboveground pools are sold out across the country. Laci Carnes, a spokesperson for Royal Swimming Pools, a large distributor of aboveground pools, said that demand is up fourfold over last year.

However, due to forced closures in March, current social distancing requirements and supply problems, manufacturers cannot keep up with demand.

Those who can’t afford or simply can’t find a real pool are buying kiddie-pools. The July 20 issue of the Washington Post featured an article on kiddie pools entitled “The inflatable pool is the official symbol of America’s lost summer.”

“It’s 2020: Take a nice cold dip in all of your abandoned dreams,” the article states.

Meanwhile, in attempts to care for their own new pools, some inexperienced pool owners have found themselves victims of chemical accidents when they mixed incompatible chemicals. Incidents such as these should provide a compelling case for professional pool care. (See accompanying story on page 5).

Covid cases are on the rise, America’s economy continues to suffer, and the pool industry is experiencing an unanticipated boost in business. Service Industry News has therefore decided to continue coronavirus coverage, with additional items of interest to pool and spa professionals.

Once again, a huge thanks to all you service guys and gals out there ensuring the country doesn’t also succumb to deadly waterborne diseases and drownings.

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