The new threat of the novel coronavirus is gripping the world and changing our lives quickly, drastically, and in ways we have never experienced in this generation. The news and scenes broadcast from countries around the world are stunning as we witness and experience schools and businesses closing, orders to shelter-in-place, and the empty streets of what are usually bustling cities.
Conferences and exhibitions
As directives to halt gatherings grow more stringent at the time of writing this column, tradeshows and conferences are being cancelled or postponed. In this issue, we included previews to three tradeshows that have been postponed. We decided to keep the previews in the issue so that readers can still have a look at some of the products and services that would have been on display, and are expected to be when the shows do take place. The three postponed events are: Interphex (www.interphex.com), originally planned for April 28–30, and will now be July 15–17 at the Javits Center in New York City; The International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference and Exhibition(powderandbulkshow.com), originally scheduled for April 28–30 is now scheduled for October 6–8 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.; and IFAT (ifat.de) originally scheduled May 4–8, is now planned September 7–11 in Messe Munich, Germany
In addition, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE; www.aiche.org) Spring Meeting has been postponed until August 16–20, and the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC; www.americanchemistry.com) GlobalChem Conference and Exhibition has been cancelled.
Impacts on the CPI
The pandemic is affecting all industries, including the chemical process industries (CPI). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA; www.osha.gov) has issued guidance on “Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” which can be found on its website. The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA; www.socma.org) reports that companies are reviewing pandemic plans and evaluating personnel issues, such as how to handle sick leave and telework policies. SOCMA is in touch with federal agencies about the impact of COVID-19 on the chemical supply chain and its website offers updates and various COVID-19-related resources. And the ACC issued a letter to the U.S. President and all state governors outlining the crucial role of the CPI in the manufacturing supply chain.
During this time when travel and face-to-face meetings are not recommended, we are turning to more online resources for information as well as a sense of community. At Chemical Engineering, we are continuing to update our website (www.chemengonline.com) with latest news and our many technical articles. As always, our current issue is freely available to all readers. We invite you to read our articles and start a conversation with the comments section at the bottom of each article, if you choose to do so. We also have numerous “live” webinars scheduled that are also free for all to join, thanks to our sponsors. You can check the “webinar” tab on the top of our homepage for upcoming topics and to register to join us.
COVID-19 is showing us just how vulnerable we are as humans. And yet it is our humanity that shines through at these times of crisis as we reach out and help each other, even as we keep our “social distance.” Let’s focus on the positive and stay connected, even while physically apart.
Dorothy Lozowski, Editorial Director