Focus: Covid-19


India’s natural-stone industry appears to have all but shutdown before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national lockdown notice on March 25. A lack of buyers from China, plus uncertainly with any orders in progress, hit quarriers and processors throughout the country. Pokarna Chairman and Managing Director Gautam Chand Jain told Telegana Today that the situation would take months to sort out, and a recession is likely. Two industry companies in areas hard hit by Covid-19 extended help to local hospitals in March. • Neolith contributed €300,000 to three hospitals in the Castellón province near its manufacturing plant in Almazora, Spain. • Mapei Group donated €750,000 to three hospitals in its headquarters city of Milan, Italy. The world’s largest stone event, the China Xiamen International Stone Fair, became the first hard-surface event affected by Covid-19. The show’s producer pulled the March 16-19 dates and rescheduled for June 6-9 in Xiamen, China.

Concerns over the spread of Covid-19 led various hard-surface industry groups to postpone educational events this spring. • The Natural Stone Institute’s Stone Industry Education events for April in Denver and May in Westwood, Mass., will be rescheduled for later this year. • The Stone Fabricators Alliance canceled its March 19-20 workshop at Cadenza Marble and Granite in Concord, N.C. • The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) reset two upcoming events to the second half of 2020. The Gen2 Leadership Gathering, scheduled for March 17-18 in Memphis, Tenn., will now be held on Sept. 29-30. The April 8-10 Industry Roundtable in San Antonio is postponed until Dec. 1-3. • The All Slab Fabbers postponed its May workshop in Sanford, Fla., with new dates to be determined. Shipments of marble blocks from Turkey to China are down 50%, according to the chairman of TUMMER, the Turkish stone association. The 75,000 metric tons transported in February is down from 150,000 a year ago.

Covid-19 concerns delayed three world natural-stone events this spring. • Organizers for the MARBLE IZMIR show in Izmir, Turkey, announced a postponement from the original dates of April 1-4,with a plan to reschedule the event later this year. • NurnbergMesse, producer of Stone+tec in Nuremberg, Germany, took the event off the 2020 calendar entirely, rescheduling at least 14 months in the future in May or June 2021. • Informa Exhibitions postponed Stonex Canada, set for May 10-12 in Mississauga, Ont., and is seeking new dates for later this year. The 2020 edition of Coverings in New Orleans in April went by the wayside when organizers canceled the event after Louisiana's governor forbade large public gatherings in the state. However, show organizers announced Coverings Connected for the same dates -- April 20-23 -- as an online event featuring education, product presentations and other show activities. A firm schedule wasn't available at presstime; check for details.