March 2020

Honduras closes all cigar factories. But not just cigar factories. All public and private businesses are on lockdown with a few exceptions, such as banks, gas stations, hospitals, and pharmacies. The Honduran government took this drastic measure after the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections doubled from 3 to 6.

In an article yesterday, we warned for the implications of the Covid-19 virus for the cigar industry. We urged countries and manufacturers to be prepared. But in our article, we never even played with the idea that factories would be closed as a precaution. Yet, since the publication of the article, several countries have taken drastic measures. Honduras is one of those countries. Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic haven’t gone this far yet

Honduran cigars

There are less than 15 cigar factories left in Honduras, even though the country is the fourth-largest producer of premium cigars. The companies that are affected by the 7-day closure include Oscar Valladares, Alec Bradley, Illusione, Rocky Patel, Plasencia, Maya Selva, CLE and many more.

Alec Bradley and Illusione have several lines made at the renowned Raices Cubana factory in Danli. Rocky Patel and Maya Selva work with the Plasencia factory in Danli. Alec Bradley and Illusione also work with factories in Nicaragua, where Rocky Patel has his own Tavicusa factory. General Cigars, part of Scandinavian Tobacco Group has a factory in Honduras, just as in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Davidoff produces Camacho and Baccarat in Honduras.

Smaller brands get hit too

It’s not just the big names that are suffering from this necessary and wise decision of the Honduran government. Smaller brands, such as Oscar Valladares and Kafie 1901 will be hurting too. Tabacalera Kafie is also responsible for the production of Stogie Roads Cigars, San Jeronimo, and The Duke cigars. These small, family-owned brands will see a drop in production as well and don’t have the stock that the big brands have.

As for the workers, they are sent home without pay. So let’s hope that the situation doesn’t last too long. Honduras is already a violent, impoverished country and this virus is adding to the struggle for survival of the Honduran people.

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