EYECARE: Coronavirus BRIEFING: Business Updates Essilor of America Takes Steps to Mitigate Effects of Coronavirus Crisis for Employees, Customers and Partners By Staff Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:36 AM A temperature check of an employee at Custom Eyes in Rock Island, Ill DALLAS—As strict new rules on social gatherings, work and movement went into effect in Dallas County on Tuesday—an effort by local officials to slow the spread of the coronavirus—Essilor of America, based here, took steps to mitigate the effects of the crisis on employees, customers and business partners, both locally and throughout the country. In a phone call with VM editors on Tuesday afternoon, EOA president Rick Gadd described how the company is continuing to do business, even in parts of the country that are in near-lockdown, while making safety its top priority.“First and foremost, we are focused on the health and safety of our Essilor family—we define this as our employees, customers, partners. This drives our decisions daily even as we see the world around us change,” said Gadd. To guide decision making, EOA has formed a Crisis Response Team reviews new information daily and informs Gadd of recommendations on communications, policies, needs and issues.Gadd said all EOA employees who can work from home are doing so at least through April 10, at which time senior management will re-evaluate the situation based on local and national information. “Meanwhile, we’ve locked down our facilities, and only essential visitors like maintenance are allowed in. We have stepped up cleaning, social distancing and monitoring for sickness for those working in person.”Despite restrictions on business operations in Dallas and other cities hit hard by the virus, Essilor is filling Rx lens orders, a key component of its business. “The ability to see well and have access to sight is an essential part of daily life, especially in a time of national crisis. We continue to operate as an essential business because our mission and our charge is to provide vision to people who desperately need it,” Gadd explained. He added that the company is going through proper channels in each state and local authority to be sure that they are following the correct guidance on "essential" businesses to deliver prescription Rx eyewear. He said that Essilor’s industrial labs, such as those in Dallas, Youngstown, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio are fully operational and running normal shifts, though he acknowledged that the volume of Rx orders has decreased since the crisis began.To ensure its lab workers are safe, Essilor is checking their temperatures before they enter the lab, and then scanning and triaging patients who may require medical care.Essilor is also working in other ways to meet the needs of its independent ECP customers and small business, many of whom are struggling through the COVID-19 crisis.“We’ve mobilized virtually to help customers with their immediate and long-term needs and will be reaching out with opportunities. It looks different for different customers. It’s key that they reach out to their Essilor sales consultant to understand the opportunities,” said Gadd.Essilor plans to relieve some of the financial pressure on ECPs by offering flexible payment terms, including short term contracts that are extended over a period of time, and extended warranties.To increase access to education for doctors, opticians and optical staff during the crisis, Essilor is opening up its ECPU program (https://ecpu.com/) for one month. Customers can access information and practice management tools through the ECPU site, free of charge.Looking to improve business continuity for its ECP customers, Essilor is extending its Next GEN offer through May 31, 2020. The consumer promotion is designed to enable eyecare professionals to recommend the new Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses to more patients.To help patients get their contact lenses and eyeglasses more quickly, Essilor is shipping orders to them directly, where possible.