Manufacturer claims no impact on production

One of two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, is a Mercury Marine office worker at its headquarters campus, and the company is encouraging any employees who can, to work from home while instituting other precautionary measures.

The employee was exposed to the coronavirus while vacationing overseas, and fell ill after returning to work, according to Brunswick marine communications director Lee Gordon, who told IBI the employee was sent to seek medical attention and colleagues who work closely with the individual were sent to work from home and seek medical attention. Mercury Marine is unsure of how many workers the affected employee may have come in contact with, but is trying to determine that.

“A lot has happened in the last 24 hours,” Gordon said late Thursday night. “Anyone who even potentially had contact with the individual was told to work from home and self-quarantine for a period of 7 to 14 days.

“Tonight, we put out a note at different locations around Brunswick but specifically to Mercury that any employee who could work from home should do so,” Gordon said.

A ban on international business travel has been put into effect Brunswick-wide, Gordon said, and domestic travel is following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The company is not allowing face-to-face employee meeting of more than two or three people, and is communicating with employees several times a day through e-mail updates.

Mercury is in the process of determining what portions of its office may require deep cleaning.

“This has not impacted operations or manufacturing at all,” Gordon told IBI. “There has not been one less engine made since we’ve done this.

“Right now, dealers and boat builders are getting their product. There has not been a slow down at all on engine orders,” Gordon said, adding no one knows how long that will continue.

Mercury Marine has relied heavily on its Business Continuity pre-planning, which builds on past experience and best practices.

“Through the years we have had 9-11 or we have had SARS or we have had hurricanes, and we try and stay ahead to plan for any possible scenario.

“When there’s a hurricane, you know it’s coming on a Thursday and there’s going to be destruction and there’s going to be cleanup and at some point, you can forecast three or four months down the road when things are going to go back,” Gordon said before sighing and adding “When you start to see the NCAA Tournament cancel and Disney World shut down, this is different than anything anyone has seen and you wonder, ‘when is the next boat show that’s actually going to take place?’”