As a business owner, like many others the term lockdown sends a shiver down my spine. Loss of income, possible loss of clientele, my workforce suffering and as a person who has immense work ethic, loss of sanity.

As a widowed single man loss of sanity is the greatest single challenge. Get up in the morning, shower, no real paperwork to do apart from emails to current clients to keep them informed of our current plans. No phone calls from prospective new clients wishing to book surveys for new contracts. Generally no contact with the outside world apart from a daily Face Time call with my daughters and son.

Lockdown we’re in it so I have to make the best of it. So how do I fill my day? Well, after about 14 days of trying to find things to do apart from watching rolling news programs, mowing the grass and generally pottering, there’s only so much of that you can do, I’ve decided to resume my blog after two years.

On the lead up to the lockdown here in the UK many people dismissed the idea of a worldwide pandemic ever affecting our small island. However, after decimating the city of Wuhan in China this unstoppable virus like the black death, Spanish flu, countless wars and conflicts over the centuries has progressed to destroy lives all over our world.

In early March 2020 the first of my Covid19 business decisions had to be made. My son, Nathan had been tracking the virus and had been keeping me posted. At that time he was working alongside one of my other guys, his apprentice and was concerned the guy may have contracted the disease. Over the weekend Nathan phoned me. “Dad, I think he may have it, his partner has a high temperature also.” I told him I’d make the phone call the following day, Sunday to check up. I made the call and asked the guy how he was feeling and how his partner was. “I’m fine all good and so’s she” was the answer. Okay, do you feel well enough to work? “Kev, I’m fine” Both Nathan and the apprentice went to work on the following Monday. That evening at around 23.00hrs I received a call from Nathan. “Dad, he’s had to take his daughter to hospital with a very high temperature” Okay son, he can’t work from now for at least 14 days, as per the Government guidelines, I’ll phone you in the morning. Over that night and into the early hours of March 17th I made the decision to pull them off the job they were working on and to tell the client of the situation.

In the morning I made the phone call to the client, easy call really they totally understood, fortunately they had a working bathroom and I told them I’d keep in touch. Meanwhile Nathan was showing mild symptoms of Covid19, runny nose, cough but no temperature. He decided to self isolate for 7 days as he lives alone.

On Monday 23rd March following the 5pm briefing the most of the UK was put into partial lockdown following an increase in the death rate due to the virus. I went to work on the Tuesday at a refurbishment which at that time was running on time. I discussed a plan of action with Nathan and my team, we decided that we weren’t essential workers because basically our business is based on want and not need. We needed to complete the bathroom Nathan had been working on and I needed to make calls to find out about our supply chain.

I found out from my contacts part of our supply chain had already closed. The second client I phoned wasn’t as understanding as the first. I explained the kitchen was currently still being delivered but the stone worktop manufacturer had already closed. “Where does that leave us?” I explained they had a perfectly good bathroom and three bedrooms and we could give them a temporary sink and a washing machine. I also explained my responsibility to their safety, my safety and the safety of our workforce, I added the condition of Nathan and the apprentice plus another who had also self isolated. “We’ll have to think about it, we’ll be back in touch!” Phone went dead.

They don’t deserve this the selfish bastards was the general consensus of the team. Trying to see both sides I explained I could see their point of view, they’d been out of their house for 6 weeks (albeit 4 weeks on holiday in Cyprus). My phone rang. “Okay Kevin if you could give us a temporary sink. Is there anything you can do working on your own there?” What part of lockdown don’t you get? I thought. No nothing I can do except ask the decorator if he minds working here alone. “Thank you Kevin” Decorator agreed and most, not all, was completed by the end of the week.

My point is, the irresponsible attitude of the second client is exactly the way this virus spreads and people die. I hope by taking this stance I’m putting “People before Profit” I value the lives of my workforce, their families and indeed my own family.

No one should have to suffer the effects of this horrendous virus if it can at be prevented.

STAY AT HOME unless you really have to go out. Give your family friends, neighbours and the rest of humanity a chance. Protect each other! Appreciate those who are working on our behalf on the front line. Doctors, nurses and all other key workers. Give a thought to our Government who also are doing all they can. This next one is also important: Be Patient!



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