Lockdown 2.0

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell wonders how a second English lockdown will affect business.

Construction and manufacturing have both been explicitly encouraged to remain operational during the second English lockdown that begins this Thursday and which is expected to last four weeks. And while the over-arching instruction is to stay at home, you are allowed out for specific reasons, including “for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)”.

Where social distancing is being maintained while business continues, then we should all be well-versed in Zoom etiquette and be thoroughly practised with juggling work loads and loads of washing.

Where virtual (rather than physical) contact is required with customers, then we have been spoilt for choice as software companies have developed apps for designing and selling home improvement products, which are now starting to feed into the production process so that there is less room for error.

I think it is fair to say that these next four weeks will not be like the first lockdown in April, and we should be able to operate as close to normal as possible. I’ve certainly not spoken to anyone who plans to shut up shop.

Arguably, the Covid pandemic has forced some new and efficient practices upon us. I have spoken to a number of people who could come out the other end much stronger than before. But I will cover this at a later date, and I welcome your views.

Finally, we learn this week that a replacement market for protective screens has already emerged. It appears that clear acrylic screens, chosen by some businesses as protective barriers between staff, customers and suppliers, could not handle the rigorous cleaning regime expected in an ultra-sanitised world.