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petercoulson

Light at the end of the Tunnel - An Exit Strategy for lockdown

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This is a little long but people seem to have time on their hands at the moment  - Although I have used a lot of words from reports around the internet the thoughts are mine so feel free to chip in with yours.

With the (expected) announcement today of another 3 weeks in lockdown has anyone thought of an exit strategy for your company? Start thinking of one? Talk will now be of a National exit strategy - I know from the figures we see volunteering that fingers crossed we have peaked and the NHS is actually coping quite well (don’t believe everything you read, yes it’s bad but it was planned to be a lot lot worse) so how will this affect us and our trade?

 

Any exit strategy will involve a staggered return to normality while the effects are monitored in cases increasing or decreasing, social distancing will also be with us for some time. The UK started late so will be able to monitor other countries but will we follow them? 

 

Austria has been (one of) the epicentres of the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe. The Austrian government took strong and prompt action to limit the spread of the virus. Now, Austria is the first eurozone country to announce a loosening of the lockdown measures. If Austria’s exit strategy turns out to be successful, other countries will follow.

 

The Austrian government announced a relaxation of the Covid-19 measures at a press conference recently. Namely:

  • From 14 April, small shops, do-it-yourself stores and garden centres will be allowed to reopen - I assume this includes shoe repairs
  • From 1 May, all shops, shopping centres and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen
  • Restaurants, hotels and other service providers will probably be able to open gradually from mid-May.

Yet, the curfew will be extended until the end of April, allowing people to leave the house for just four reasons; to go to work, to make urgent errands such as to buy groceries, to help other people in need and to go for a walk or exercise. Also, bigger events may not take place until the end of June. The measures will be reviewed every two to three weeks and will be adjusted on the basis of the data available.

A blueprint for the rest of Europe?

Most countries in the EU look to follow a similar pattern at various dates in the coming weeks, smaller shops open then larger and shopping centres before pubs and restaurants can open.

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that certain sectors of the economy would go back to work after May 11 and that schools and kindergartens would re-open, he also said that restrictions would remain on public gatherings and that bars and restaurants may remain closed into the summer months - all countries are saying this as well so no large gatherings this year probably until August at the earliest.

So what for the UK and what for the shoe repairer/locksmith?? Now we have a history of doing things our way rightly or wrongly but what we do have is a lack of testing facility at the moment and this will be key to business returns and people on the High St. Fast and accurate testing means we can monitor closely trends for the virus so any exit strategy can be known to be working before it’s too late but I am hopeful we will see these soon probably in the form of drive through pods. With this the country can adopt an exit strategy with confidence so where will that leave you? 

Have you thought of your own exit strategy? 

A big consideration has to be when the Government stop the help they are giving, when will they say furlough must stop - that will be a big cash issue for most. Also how will you let people know you are re-opening? Did you have enough stock when you shut? Should you be ordering from your wholesaler now to make sure you get the stock in time? 

Don’t forget we won’t be starting where we left off, if you turned over £2000 per week before the lockdown it is going to take a while to rebuild to that point. What social distancing precautions will you be taking? If you didn’t take credit cards before is this not something you should be organising to do now? Will you wear disposable gloves? If so how often will you change them? While talking about gloves unless you change them after each customer interaction they are absolutely useless and washing your hands is much more effective. Perhaps we can share exit strategy ideas to help each other.

I’m hoping you all realise you need new parts for your machines or even new machines in the next few months :) but reality says that all our customers are going to have cash flow issues of some sort along with the time taken to rebuild confidence so we have cut our overheads as much as we can but only time will tell if it is enough.

 

 

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one problem , if my accountant has got it right of course , if a ltd company and you the director have furloughed yourself which is likely if a 1 man band or small family concern , once you furlough yourself to get the 80% you cannot do any work at all for your company bar any statuary filing duties , my accountant said i wouldnt be able to order goods , pay for goods , go in to repair or service equipment and not take or answer email enquiries as this would mean im still working for the company and as such furlough forbids this .

ok common sense is that if servicing equipment and answering enquiries only it is unlikely you will get caught doing so , however , ordering goods and paying for goods where there is an audit trail of date ordered , date delivered , date paid etc and something that can be picked up by HMRC , which if they had the mind to follow up they could prosecute and demand furlough money be repaid .

it would be very petty to enforce this if minor infringements , but we will be entering a new era where the government will need to recoup what has been spent and lost to this lockdown in a bid to recover the economy , its not as if they havnt got form over the generations for leaving the big firms alone and persecuting and chasing the small firms as easier targets , although it is unlikely its possible so should be in back of our minds to cover the bases.

so take care when doing any planning or work activity whilst still furloughed .

personally if the case i think its ridiculous to enforce such a rule with small businesses , but this is apparantly the rules .

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Now that is a good point, technically you cannot do the work for which you are furloughed - St John Ambulance have been very careful about this they employ ambulance crews who they should furlough but many of these also volunteer therefore couldn't.  If you are more than a one man band you could argue it's not you that usually does it I guess and the government would be mighty picky (never mind having no time to check) to stop  they are looking for those that work and claim they are also furloughed but a rule is a rule yes be careful. Good advice already thank you.

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A question about some countries spraying and disinfecting their shops before re-opening, the virus has different shelf life depending on what it is attached to but with our shops being shut so long there should be no worries. Saying that a little clean and spruce up wouldn't go amiss anyway.
 
The coronavirus can live for hours to days on surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. How long it survives depends on the material the surface is made from.
Here's a guide to how long coronaviruses -- the family of viruses that includes the one that causes COVID-19 -- can live on some of the surfaces you probably touch on a daily basis. Keep in mind that researchers still have a lot to learn about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. For example, they don't know whether exposure to heat, cold, or sunlight affects how long it lives on surfaces.
 
Metal
Examples: doorknobs, jewelry, silverware
 5 days
Wood
Examples: furniture, decking 
4 days
Plastics
Examples: packaging like milk containers and detergent bottles, subway and bus seats, backpacks, elevator buttons
 2 to 3 days
Stainless steel
Examples: refrigerators, pots and pans, sinks, some water bottles
 2 to 3 days
Cardboard
Examples: shipping boxes
 24 hours
Copper
Examples: pennies, teakettles, cookware
 4 hours
Aluminium
Examples: soda cans, tinfoil, water bottles
 2 to 8 hours
Glass
Examples: drinking glasses, measuring cups, mirrors, windows
Up to 5 days
Ceramics
Examples: dishes, pottery, mugs
 5 days
Paper
The length of time varies. Some strains of coronavirus live for only a few minutes on paper, while others live for up to 5 days.
 
 

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Question Peter -

had the country worked thru this would it have been like the plague?

this country had to work thru that and the death rate was very high?

one country is working thru and the guessing has started on the death rate for it - lots are saying this is over the top for us but I guess there is a lot more to it than meets the eye

 

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6 minutes ago, k4mrc said:

Question Peter -

had the country worked thru this would it have been like the plague?

this country had to work thru that and the death rate was very high?

one country is working thru and the guessing has started on the death rate for it - lots are saying this is over the top for us but I guess there is a lot more to it than meets the eye

 

I don't know anyone can answer that with certainty but I believe it would have been like the plague yes, the cross infection is relatively easy,  now how much that affects the death rate is questionable, are we seeing more deaths than normal this time of year? Would a herd immunity process work? A sort of answer lies in the shocking statistics for care homes where isolation isn't possible but the death rate is distorted there because of the ages and underlying conditions. The amount of people dying without underlying issues is high so I don't think herd immunity will be an answer there are already cases of 2nd infections in some people so a dangerous rick to take.

Personally I don't think it's over the top and they can compare with Spanish Flu where early lockdowns (NPI) helped the economy as well as some of the spread - I was in Vietnam when this really broke big time and they had cases there but being communist they have a better control over their population so were able to detect those that came into contact with others and shut whole towns where necessary from very early on, their population is around 95 million yet to date they have had 268 cases and NO deaths. It seems the major transport hub cities/countries suffered most

Anecdotal evidence suggests that our results have parallels in the COVID-19 outbreak. Governments that implemented NPIs swiftly, such as those in Taiwan, China and Singapore, have not only limited infection growth; they also appear to have mitigated the worst economic disruption caused by the pandemic. For example, economist Danny Quah notes that Singapore's management of COVID-19 has avoided major disruptions to economic activity without leading to a sharp increase in infections through the use of forceful, early interventions. Therefore, well-calibrated, early, and forceful NPIs should not be seen as having major economic costs in a pandemic.

Altogether, our evidence implies that it’s the pandemic and the associated spike in mortality that constitute the shock to the economy. To the extent that NPIs are a means to attack the root of the problem, mortality, they can also save the economy.

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Slight change of tact, but I'd image after the next three weeks of lockdown we may be able to re-open IF we can operate safely.

I've just ordered face visors, masks and hand sanitiser so that we are prepared.

Is anyone else in the same thinking that we may be able to open mid-May? and what else can we do to operate safely?

Paul

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7 minutes ago, Paul_ said:

Slight change of tact, but I'd image after the next three weeks of lockdown we may be able to re-open IF we can operate safely.

I've just ordered face visors, masks and hand sanitiser so that we are prepared.

Is anyone else in the same thinking that we may be able to open mid-May? and what else can we do to operate safely?

Paul

With this statement today (and i have seen it's true) an exit strategy will start within or at the end of these 3 weeks and guessing smaller independents will be back soon, not that customers will be there though so some decisions about coming out of furlough need to be made a lot will depend on when the Government dictate furlough stops.

 

Today:

Interestingly, Dominc Raab set out criteria for the exit from lockdown – including “sustained and consistent fall in deaths” and confidence that the NHS could cope with a second peak.

It will be several weeks at least before the first is achieved. On the second, there is strong evidence to suggest we are probably there.

Cases in hospital appear to have peaked and there is still a reasonable amount of headroom – more than 10,000 hospital beds free and 2,000 intensive care beds and that’s before we take into account the network of NHS Nightingale units, with the exception of the 500 beds available in London.

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So after posting this on the CE facebook page Richard asked a really relevant and good question which I am answering here but as it's unprecedented this is my answer from research and knowledge pleas chip in with your answer and ideas and indeed anything to add to the list, 

What about customer shoes and keys being handed over?

 

Before I look at answers please please remember the biggest way to spread is through breath droplets in the air, have you thought about precautions for this? The local supermarkets I have been to recently now have perspex screens up with a small slot to pass items through, is this practical for you? Will you be wearing a mask?  Do you wear gloves? This is classed as PPE but do you know the rights and wrongs of their use, how effective are they? PPE info is at the end.  Also consider people you live with, if they are in the danger bracket consider taking a change of clothes to put on before you go home, take your shoes off at the door before going in the house.

 

Lets look at the products we are handed to repair or duplicate

 

Shoes/bags/keys - the virus (according to science) can last up to 5 days on these materials so what are the options?

 

The virus is best transmitted through your respiratory system that’s why the warnings about washing hands and not touching your face so in theory you can handle shoes then touch you face or mouth and catch Covid. Of course you can say to your customers to put the shoes into sealable bags and leave for 5 days but you can’t do this with keys usually, at some point you will be handling these items. What precautionary options do you have (feel free to chip in with ideas here please)?

 

1. Most obvious is to wipe clean the items, easy with keys (proper wipes like Clinell alcohol wipes) minimum 60% alcohol. With shoes you are the material experts look and see how easy it is to wipe or disinfect them without staining. If you are unsure it may be you ask them to leave them for a week?

 

2. Wash your hands regularly and don’t touch your face at any time. Use Gel. 

 

Something to understand about hand gel, first it must be at least 60% alcohol to be of any use, second hand gel is not that effective used on it’s own it is best when combined with good hand washing techniques please bare that in mind !!!!

 

 

3. PPE

 

As mentioned above PPE is your best defence but what do you choose and how do you use it?

 

Gloves - These will be your best defence but you must use them correctly, gloves should not be reusable for a start. You should use disposable gloves like those used in hospitals but you have to be strict about changing them often never take off and put on again that defeats the whole point of them. Learn aseptic techniques for removing them (take one off, put in your other glove then remove this so they both end up inside out and a ball)

 

Masks - So much said about masks but they are not great as a defence for those without the virus more a catcher of droplets for those with Covid. Yes wear a mask but be aware unless it is the correct type correctly fitted it will be nothing more than a comfort factor for you. In the NHS the minimum standard is something called FFP3 but you have to be FIT tested wearing these to see if vapours get through and not everyone passes this test (face shape, facial hair etc)

 

Face Shields - A bit like welding masks they will protect you from little unless combined with properly fitting masks you would be better off investing in a good perspex for your counter

 

Aprons - When you’re working with shoes etc they quite often come into contact with your clothes that’s what a lot of repairers wear aprons but do you wear a different one every day? Get into the habit of taking a different apron in each day and taking home (carefully of course) for a wash at night same as you would with your clothes.

 

 

The UK has approx 1500 cases per million persons think about that, the chances of someone being Covid positive without knowing passing through your doors is minimal, add into that the odds of it passing through contact if you take some simple precautions reduces those odds further. At the end of the day this is your life and livelihood we all need to put some perspective on what is happening out there, the pandemic is bad but it could have been a lot worse.

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PPE isnt just sensible but going forward i believe will become compulsory for a long time to come , all part of the new normal .

we will all need to risk assess and i suspect show via risk assessments that we have done so , and implement ppe into our everyday work where we may not have before .

so look at the larger outfits and what they do and apply it to what we all do ;

dispoable gloves 

face masks and plastic visors

disposable aprons or overals 

sterilising , disinfecting and cleaning regime

hand sanitizer

possibly an ozone generator on a timer so operates overnight whilst premises are empty , these are excellent for sterilising an area and killing all germs and viruses as well as freshen and eradicate odours , very useful piece of kit.

then look at social distancing for when you reopen , how do you ensure social distancing rules can be maintained both in your premises and for those waiting to enter your premises .

how you take payment , ie , 

cash how to clean money comming in and going out as change 

card payments , keeping card machine and buttons clean for each use , maybe anti bac wipes by the machine for customer use .

you shoe repairers have your own issues to consider as excellently refered to by peter , cleaning items like repaired shoes , anti bac may stain , possibly treated with an ozone generator and bagged with ozone air in a sealed bag may achieve this safely .

going back to work is going to incur cost to us , its going to take planning and time and no doubt take some getting used too , but i suspect will become a necessity and obligation rather than a choice .

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20 hours ago, petercoulson said:

the biggest way to spread is through breath droplets in the air

Interestingly when driving the other day and on a phone conversation via Bluetooth, with direct sunlight streaming thorough the windscreen.

Breath droplets whilst talking can be quite clearly be viewed from the vapor! (it is more prominent if you have a moustashe or beard)

Based on that, it would be good practice to not stand face to face whilst in conversation with others and practice the social distancing rule.

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4 minutes ago, Auto Key Wizard said:

Interestingly when driving the other day and on a phone conversation via Bluetooth, with direct sunlight streaming thorough the windscreen.

Breath droplets whilst talking can be quite clearly be viewed from the vapor! (it is more prominent if you have a moustashe or beard)

Based on that, it would be good practice to not stand face to face whilst in conversation with others and practice the social distancing rule.

No one can agree on how far it really depends on the atmosphere conditions but that is where the 2m suggestion comes from although I can imagine in windy conditions 2m isn't enough. Perspex counter shields may be the best answer

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Next time I'm clapping, some of those claps will be for you ,Peter, thank you.

Going forward, I'll be putting up a perspex screen and hand sanitizing before and after every customer. Not doing gloves, will do a face mask, and social distancing will be a implicated as best possible, as my shop is actually smaller than 2m across.

Shoes were never an important part of my business, most are contracted out, so I'll just suspend until further notice.

Reduced hours will also be done, and a preference( boo hoo!!) for cards will be stated during each transaction.

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On 4/18/2020 at 12:30 PM, grahamparker said:

Ozone Generators seem to be getting mixed reviews on line with some sites saying they are actually bad for your health especially Asthma sufferers.

directly breathing in neat ozone from these machines can indeed harm the lungs , this is why those that use them do so when premises or vehicle is empty , many restauraunts use them on timers , they come on in the night when closed , go off a few hours before anyone is due in , to give the ozone air time to dilute with normal air , everything sterile and odour free , if used correctly then not harmfull.

as with anything its down to how its used , i do work for a car dealer that uses one in trade ins , to sterilise , get rid of cigarette smoke odours etc .

if your shop opens 9 to 5 , then a machine on a timer that comes on at 9pm and goes off at 2 or 3am is going to do its job , kill the germs and by the time you open up the air is normal air again.

how are you and your wife now graham ? back to full strength i hope .

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We both seem to be ok now, Wife has gone back to work today after 4 weeks off its been a long recovery she still has a bit of a cough still but nothing like 3-4 weeks ago.

I have been walking my dog 2-3 miles a day to build up strenght and managed to do 4 miles yesterday so i feel absolutely great

I have made the decision to return to work in about 6 weeks time (even if we are still on lockdown) i already have outstanding orders for Codelocks,keys and cylinders for the NHS and a few food factories have been asking if we will open again soon.

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excellent news , i think many are considering end of may , i suspect most will be allowed back by june if social distancing can be observed , though i doubt this will include pubs and restaurants etc until much later .

you look to be in a better position than many , you at least have orders to go back to which is a comfort i suspect many do not.

glad your well and best of luck

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43 minutes ago, rapidlocks said:

excellent news , i think many are considering end of may , i suspect most will be allowed back by june if social distancing can be observed , though i doubt this will include pubs and restaurants etc until much later .

 

That's going to be quite a difficult call for small shop owners if they are furloughed at the moment it could well be worth considering staying furloughed as long as possible until the High St is sufficiently open to make enough money to cover wages.

 

@grahamparker that's excellent news but if you keep walking that many miles a day your dog is going to be severely disappointed when you go back to work. Or relieved if it's like mine :)

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49 minutes ago, petercoulson said:

That's going to be quite a difficult call for small shop owners if they are furloughed at the moment it could well be worth considering staying furloughed as long as possible until the High St is sufficiently open to make enough money to cover wages.

 

@grahamparker that's excellent news but if you keep walking that many miles a day your dog is going to be severely disappointed when you go back to work. Or relieved if it's like mine :)

My dogs very lucky (as am i) as he comes to work with me every day anyway. From March to October we walk 2 miles in the morning before work and then 2 miles before coming home in the evening it's a great way to de stress after a busy day. Plus i live in a quiet village and there is a path across the fields that we can walk with him off the lead. He has many other dog friends we bump into and he loves it.

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