COVID-19

COVID-19: To help our premium cigar and pipe tobacco retailers, manufacturers and industry partners, the PCA will continue to update this page with resources, news, alerts and more surrounding COVID-19. We encourage you to check back often (and bookmark this page), as information is rapidly changing and being updated.

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COVID-19 | PCA News & Alerts


COVID-19 | Support Your Local Tobacconist

COVID-19 has put premium tobacco stores and lounges—and our entire economy—in peril. You can help! Premiumcigars.org has created a database to help you find premium tobacconists offering alternative purchasing options like to-go sales or curbside pickup, online gift cards and merchandise, and more! View the list to find a local retailer near you now and check back often for more options as they become available. RETAILERS: To be included, please complete the COVID-19 Tobacco Business Sales Support Form.


COVID-19 | List of Resources

Resourcetopic & link
US Small Business Administration (SBA)Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
National Governors Association (NGA)Coronavirus: What You Need To Know
FiscalNoteCoronavirus Updates & Resource Center
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Coronavirus (COVID-19)
World Health Organization (WHO)Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) – State TrackerCOVID-19 Action Tracker 
Career OneStop – Unemployment BenefitsUnemployment Benefits Finder
Cozen O’Connor Public StrategiesFederal and State COVID-19 Business Relief Resources
US Senate Committee on Small Business & EntrepreneurshipKeeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act
CARES Act FAQCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: Question and Answers

COVID-19 | State & Local Government Reports (Daily)

TopicDate & link
US Daily Report on State & Local GovernmentsMarch 26, 2020
US Daily Report on State & Local GovernmentsMarch 25, 2020
Federal and State COVID-19 Business Relief ResourcesMarch 25, 2020
US Daily Report on State & Local GovernmentsMarch 24, 2020
US Daily Report on State & Local GovernmentsMarch 23, 2020
US Daily Report on State & Local GovernmentsMarch 20, 2020
US Daily Report on State & Local GovernmentsMarch 19, 2020

COVID-19 | States & Territories Resources for Retailers

As COVID-19 continues to evolve at a rapid pace, some information may already be outdated. We will continue to update this page regularly, but encourage you to visit the website of your particular state government for the most up-to-date local information. While we are monitoring and updating each state and territory below during this time, we encourage you to refer to the List of Resources above, as information is ever-changing.

  • Governor signed an executive order which instituted COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine Protocol measures for all incoming travelers from the Philippines — March 18
  • The Governor declared a public health emergency — March 15
  • Executive Order ordering bars, video poker establishments, bowling alleys, fitness centers and gyms, movie theaters and casinos to close. Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops are limited to only delivery, take-out or drive through service through April 12. – March 16
  • New Orleans Closures: Requires public and private gatherings to be canceled or prohibited in non-emergency situations. Bars, gyms and fitness centers, shopping centers configured as malls (but not strip centers), live performance venues, reception facilities and other establishments where large gatherings routinely occur and/or where the risk of possible COVID-19 spread exists, shall cease operations. Restaurants shall limit operations to take out and delivery only. – March 16
  • Update to COVID-19 public health emergency – March 13
    • Requires all gatherings of 250+ people between Friday, March 13, 2020 and Monday, April 13, 2020 to be postponed or cancelled. This applies only to gatherings in a single space at the same time where individuals will be in close proximity to one another. It does not apply to normal operations at locations like airports, medical facilities, shopping centers or malls, office buildings, factories or manufacturing facilities, or grocery or department stores. This provision may be extended beyond Monday, April 13, 2020 by further order. 
  • Proclamation of a public health emergency – COVID-19 – March 11

COVID-19 | Cigar Production Affected

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal): The first Covid-19 cases are confirmed in Cuba. Up to now there are no restrictions. The cigar factories are still producing. Factory tours have been discontinued. There is no entry ban for tourists, yet.

March 17 (source: Cigar Aficionado): No factories have closed in Cuba, but a source from Habanos stated that they are taking preventative sanitary measures without providing further details. As of March 12, the Cuban Ministry of Health confirmed four cases of Coronavirus in Cuba, although that number might increase soon. A Coronavirus-infected cruise ship that was stranded at sea in the Caribbean for weeks has been given clearance to dock in Cuba’s Mariel port.

March 19: Dominican Republic has declared a state of emergency and has closed its land, sea and air borders for 15 days, effective 6:00 am Thursday.

March 19 (source: Cigar Aficionado): As of March 19, there have been 34 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and two confirmed deaths in the Dominican Republic.

Arturo Fuente told Cigar Aficionado on March 19 that it has begun the process of shutting down its Dominican cigar factory, which makes tens of millions of premium cigars annually. The operation employs more than 3,000 people and will be closed until April 3.

EPC Cigar Co. closed its factory in Santiago on March 19. “We will be closed all next week,” said owner Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. He said the situation could be be extended another week “depending on the situation. … Hopefully all will be safe to go back to work in that time.”

Meanwhile Altadis’ Tabacalera de García Ltd., the largest factory in the Dominican Republic, remains open. The Altadis headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale and the distribution center in Tampa are open as well.

“We are taking increased sanitation measures and many staff are teleworking from home,” said Rafael Nodal, head of product capability for Altadis parent company Tabacalera USA.

José “Jochy” Blanco, owner of Tabacalera Palma, has made the decision to close his factory from March 20 to April 6. His factory is responsible for brands such as La Galera, Aging Room and Matilde.

“We have enough inventory in Miami and will do our best to assist all of our clients and customers during this unprecedented time,” he said in an official statement.

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal): Nicaragua’s cigar factories are still running. Hygienic protection is more important than ever, Fred Vandermarliere from Oliva and Nestor Plasencia from Plasencia Cigars told Cigar Journal.

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal): All factories are closed.

March 17 (source: Cigar Aficionado): With now 12 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, Honduras isn’t taking any chances. On Tuesday, March 17, it imposed a seven-day shutdown on nonessential business, and that includes cigar factories. The shutdown means a halt to production for the third-leading exporter of premium cigars to the United States, a nation that ships 60 to 70 million handmade cigars a year to the U.S.

Honduras also ordered all borders (air, land and sea) to be closed for a week.

“In Honduras, the government ordered all companies to close for seven days,” said Nestor Andrés Plasencia, who owns cigar factories in Honduras as well as in neighboring Nicaragua. “We hope that next Monday we can start again.”

Christian Eiroa, owner of C.L.E. Cigar Co., is also directly affected by the country’s lockdown. He grows tobacco and produces cigars in Honduras and echoes Plasencia’s statement.

“The government shut down all operations in all industries except for health and food,” said Eiroa. “It is being reviewed every seven days. We should have an update Friday or Monday.”

The shutdown could potentially have a heavy impact on companies like Altadis U.S.A., which produces cigars at its Flor de Copan factory; General Cigar Co., which produces Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey in Honduras; Alec Bradley, which has cigars made under contract at the Raices Cubanas factory; and Rocky Patel, who produces a large number of his cigars at one of Plasencia’s factories in El Paraiso, Honduras.

But Patel isn’t particularly worried—at least not yet. “I don’t think it will affect us in the short term,” he said. “We have a significant level of inventory that could last us for six months. We have always had a policy of keeping a large inventory in Florida in case of political disturbances or other issues that could arise in Central America.”

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal):The factories are still open.

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal): “Our historic J.C. Newman El Reloj factory Tampa remains open. We continue to roll cigars there every day, although we have stopped offering tours and cancelled meetings and outside visitors”, Drew Newman told Cigar Journal via mail. „All of the factories are taking additional measures to promote personal hygiene and keep things clean, and the operational status of our factories may change depending upon government recommendations or requirements in the coming week“, Mr. Newman adds.

March 17 (source: Cigar Aficionado): In the US, cases of Coronavirus increase with every news report. Although Padrón’s factory in Nicaragua is still operating, it closed its retail store in Miami. Meanwhile in Miami’s Little Havana section, the small El Titan de Bronze factory is keeping its doors open, but is limiting business to curbside pickups.

The J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has endured two World Wars, the Great Depression and many other challenges throughout its 125-year history. For now, both of the company’s factories—El Reloj factory in Tampa’s Ybor City and Puros de Esteli Nicaragua, S.A., or PENSA, in Estelí, Nicaragua—continue to operate, but the company is monitoring the situation.

“We are continuing to roll cigars as usual at our J.C. Newman El Reloj factory in Tampa, Florida, and J.C. Newman PENSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, but we will continue to reevaluate our operations as the situation continues to develop,” said Drew Newman, general counsel. “As a family business, we are very concerned about our employees and their families and are encouraging our staff who are ill, more vulnerable to illness, or need to stay home to care for children or aging relatives to remain at home. We have also asked our sales people around the country to cancel their travel and work close to home for the time being.”

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal): J. Cortès factory is still producing cigars, but has sent home older workers, those considered risk groups or those who have family members in risk groups. Those who are still needed in the factory and shipping department continue to work.

March 18 (source: Cigar Journal): Factories are closed until Thursday, March 19, 2020.