Well, it’s now a couple of months since the gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures began to ease. Over recent months, we’ve all – both personally and professionally – had a chance to experience a little freedom while adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of managing the threat posed by coronavirus infection day-to-day.
The biggest milestone yet is happening right now, with hundreds of thousands of children across the country heading back to school after what, for most of them, has been an unprecedented six-month break.
Without wishing to burst that fragile bubble of positivity, however, we’ve all heard the Government’s warnings about the winter months, when they expect a renewed wave of public health problems caused by a heady blend of normal winter cold and flu bugs, and coronavirus.
Over recent weeks, we’ve taken a look at how a range of different sectors can adjust to the additional challenges of maintaining staff and customer safety in a post-COVID world.
Given the further challenges that may lie ahead, we thought it was worth recapping on some of this guidance, for the benefit of any organisations looking to ensure they have all bases covered for the winter. In fact, our advice is that, if they’re not, they probably should be. That’s because, while the less-pressured summer months have provided a welcome breather for us all, none of us can afford to get complacent.
Our Director Janette Elliott said: “It’s vital that we enter the autumn operating almost as though we were in the midst of an outbreak again, to keep us focused on maximum vigilance at all times.”
Revisiting our recent advice
Since May, we’ve taken a look at what sectors including businesses, schools, restaurants and pubs, and manufacturers, can do to ensure they are COVID-secure.
Below is a reminder.
Our free guide to getting back in business
We started off, in May, with some general advice for any organisations looking to ensure their COVID-security and, while subtleties like social distancing being relaxed a little to one metre-plus have changed since, most of this still stands. It’s well worth reading this guide if you’re looking to sense check that you have everything watertight for the winter.
Insights for hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) businesses
In June, we took a look at ‘HORECA’, or hotel, restaurant and catering, businesses in particular, as they began opening their doors for the first time. In our blog, we explored the kinds of changes they can make, in a cost-effective way, to give their customers enough confidence to start coming back.
Then, in early August, we tackled the challenges of space which were making it difficult for such businesses to welcome customers back in sufficient numbers to be profitable, and offered some canny insights into how thinking differently about outside space can help solve this conundrum.
And we featured the direct experiences of two of our valued customers, in getting back up to capacity again: the Chamas and Mirage eateries in central Beverley and the town’s popular Tiger Inn. Tiger landlord Allen Slinger said: “Having been closed for so long, things were obviously getting a bit tight and therefore it was important we made a success of re-opening. We had a real sense of nervous excitement about starting up again and, so far, it’s panning out really well.
“We’ve had plenty of customers through the door and they’ve also been really supportive in asking what we need them to do to help us all make this work. Fundamentally, people are going to respond to places that are clean, safe and secure, and that needs to be your guiding principle.”
Hands up for back to school
In August, we tackled the ‘big return’ of the nation’s pupils to school, with a look at some of the issues teachers and leaders face, and what they can do about them to make this momentous occasion as risk-free as possible. Janette said: “Not only do we need to protect pupils, but they are the hub of families, with the potential to infect some of the most vulnerable people – from elderly and medically-vulnerable members of their own families, to teachers with underlying health conditions.
“Minimising this risk will necessitate a fundamental re-think of the way our schools operate – from child sickness policies to class sizes and even accepting cash payments for things like school dinners.”
Keeping the nation supplied – how manufacturers can ensure continuity
Of course, we mustn’t forget the essential role our manufacturers have played over the past six months. Many of them have been busier than ever, despite the pandemic, as consumer demand for items like food and personal protective equipment has soared. Maintaining the safety of food items is always important for producers, but in our blog we took a look at the additional measures required of them to be not just food- but also COVID-safe.
However, of course, it’s not just those making food that have to be extra-careful at the present time, and any business making any item for public use is having to provide similar levels of reassurance, something we explored in this piece about COVID-security for general goods manufacturers. Our Sales & Marketing Executive, Chris Elliott, said: “PPE has been perhaps the biggest issue because the need to prioritise the requirements of frontline healthcare providers has reduced the availability of certain items. “We would say to any companies needing help with navigating these challenges, ‘get in touch and let us take the strain for you’. We can help with all the logistics around hygiene and managing risk within any business – including a COVID-specific strategy.”
If you need help with things like the above, or any other hygiene challenge, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01482 327580.