Following last nights speech on TV from Boris Johnson a number of businesses including the one I work for made decisions to close down their activities, potentially for the next 3 weeks as requested by Johnson. It was not an easy decision to make and in the future our lockdowns will either be seen as very good actions as the levels of illness expansion will have been limited, or alternatively we may be very disappointed if the economic damage becomes very deep and the health benefit proves to have been very shallow. However there are some real challenges for other businesses that we work alongside such as the building industry. By allowing and even encouraging that industry to stay at work, using Michael Gove’s comments that it is important to ensure that the infrastructure in our nation continues to develop and that people who cannot work from home should be able to work on their building sites, then our business is arguably doing the wrong thing. On the other hand given that none of these businesses are seen as key workers by the Government when it comes to education provision there clearly needs to be a much more transparent set of terms:
Either all building sites and maintenance settings need to be treated as key worker environments and in that case all of the working groups involved including our own need to be defined as such.
All building sites need to be closed apart from any that have been given a key worker identity by the Government. In this case all building workers, employed or self employed will need the same level of support as all other non key workers.
A classic example is that we are supposed to be working in a premise that belongs to a care home network, which has been refurbishing the setting for their resident clients. We know the owners would like the work finished very quickly, but at the moment the Government is either saying don’t work or do work depending on whether Boris Johnson or Michael Gove and Robert Jenrick are the people speaking. Another example is the new Headquarters for a yacht club venue. A few weeks delay on this would not be the end of the world for most people. However our business in both cases needs to work in a collaborative way with the other parts of the building industry that are still on site, doing the work. We have other maintenance work we are carrying out for several Churches and a Local Government. In the first of those cases we are not working in a collaborative manner with other construction people so the solution is easy, but in the second of them we are working with a building contractor and in the local government case we are laying down hearing loops when the carpet fitters are ready for us to do so. Are Churches and Carpet Fitters part of Robert Jenricks list and Michael Goves plan or not?