We will meet again

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell celebrates the positive moments.

When the prime minister Boris Johnson urged everyone to stay at home for three weeks on March 23, effectively shutting down businesses across the UK, we had no idea what effect it would have on our daily lives; it was literally an unprecedented move.

As we approach the end of that third week (and, let’s face it, we will probably still be here next week) it’s worth reflecting on how life under lockdown has affected us.

Yes, there are obvious negatives. For example, cash flow is proving to be a slippery beast, with a lack of guidance complicating matters.

I spoke to Certass’s Jon Vanstone who pointed out that homeowners were trying to claw back deposits put down on new installations because installers were effectively breaking contracts by (correctly) not turning up to site.

But there are positives, and it is worth celebrating these. First of all, the general attitude of those under lockdown (if I can use social media as a convenient guide) has been warm, generous, stoic, charitable, funny, caring – all those attributes the British are known for.

There are also parts of the industry that have had to stay open to provide essential services, and others who are actively supporting the NHS.

There have been occasions while reading tweets, watching videos, and opening press releases, that I’ve never been prouder to be part of this industry.

Furthermore, we mustn’t forget that there are opportunities. For example, (in between painting the shed and clearing out the garage) furloughed staff can undertake online training courses (fire, working at height, etc), and Glenigan this week pointed out that as Covid-19 started to shut sites down last month, there was a significant increase in the volume of planning approvals versus any of the previous 12 months, with health, community and amenity, education, and social housing sectors offering the greatest opportunities for the future.

And in a bid to get the RMI sector back to work as quickly as possible, Jon Vanstone said that Certass was working closely with the relevant government departments to do this without compromising the guidelines on social distancing.

I don’t think I’ve ever quoted the Queen before, but here goes: “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return.”