Tuesday March the 17th 2020… my wife’s birthday. I’d taken the day off and we drove to Frinton to take the dog on a nice walk along the beach. We had lunch in a little cafe and talked about how we thought the Coronavirus might affect the business.
Things were quite calm, and while there were small signs that this was going to be different, work was still coming in and overall it looked like we could weather the storm.
Within 24 hours we had our entire sales and studio team working from home and the level of work coming in halved (literally overnight) and then dried up almost completely as the government guidelines started to bite.
By Friday that week, we were talking about running a skeleton crew and working out how to socially distance the production team, which is logistically difficult when running machines. By Tuesday 24th March—just seven short days after walking along the beach with my wife—Wayne and myself made the decision to close our production completely.
That wasn’t an easy decision but it felt like the right thing to do. We are not an essential business, and we primarily service the event and exhibition industry which ostensibly had been destroyed.
We felt like we needed to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, and that meant furloughing our staff for their safety, closing the doors and going home until it was safe to return.
That was four weeks ago. We are now just approaching the subject of when we return in a limited capacity with a small number of staff but as yet that does seem a little way away.