Since March, America has been undoubtedly impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. From social distancing to hand sanitizer shortages, this global pandemic has seemingly made its way into every aspect of our lives. One area being hit particularly hard is businesses, with the pool industry being no exception. There are the many ways in which shortages caused by COVID-19 are affecting the pool industry, including:
- Lumber shortages
- Polypropylene Shortages
- Breaker Shortages
- Labor Shortages
- Water Shortages
First, with many individuals staying home this spring and summer, there has been a vast increase in home renovations. Particularly, sales in backyard swimming pools and other outdoor projects have increased, including the accompanying fencing. However, due to the nature of the pandemic, several major lumber mills in the United States and Canada have cut down on production.
In order to alleviate this, many companies have turned to new sources of building materials, including composite wood (often a mixture of recycled wood pulp and plastic), smaller mesh chain link vinyl, wood-tone vinyl, and even a bamboo and polyethylene blend. Unfortunately, even some of these materials have been increasingly difficult to find these days, which has led to fences and other projects costing homeowners even more.
Similarly, the pandemic is affecting the manufacturing of swimming pool solar panels, specifically due to a shortage in its main component, polypropylene, a plastic material known as a polymer. Polypropylene is used in a wide array of consumer goods, including toys, appliances, luggage, and even automobile parts. Due to its high chemical and bacterial resistance, the plastic polymer is also commonly used in the medical field. Therefore, with the pandemic hitting, there has been a desperate need for proper PPE and medical-grade face masks such as N95s, which has led to a rapid depletion of polypropylene. Subsequently, this has caused a meltdown in the market of the popular swimming pool solar panels.
In specific states, such as Florida, code requires that licensed electricians perform the installation of a pool or spa’s electrical system to ensure proper code and safety precautions are put in place. Certain elements, such as pool pumps, require a circuit breaker in order to prevent shock or electrocution risks. However, due to the pandemic, breaker production and manufacturing have struggled to keep up with the high demand of pool requests. Further, homeowners have found added delays in renovations due to both manpower and supply shortages.
The pool industry has also had to maneuver around a global labor shortage due to the coronavirus enforcing stringent health restrictions and closing down many businesses. One way that companies have tried to combat the labor shortage is first and foremost by retaining their top employees. From offering incentives ranging from 401Ks to building a personal pool at cost, and by ensuring they are treating their employees with the utmost respect and value, companies are seeking to hold on to their valuable staff. Aside from personal pools, there has also been a lifeguard shortage due to many individuals avoiding crowded gatherings and some public pools closing altogether.
COVID-19 has also exacerbated the effects of water shortages around the globe. In recent months, people all over the world have been settling into a “new normal” of working from home, social distancing, and increased hygiene as a part of the fight against the spread of the virus. Comparatively, the United States’ availability of clean water surges above other areas of the world. Yet, at times conditions such as drought, along with an encumbering pandemic, come with refraining from watering driveways, watering lawns, and restricting water used to fill swimming pools.