The announcement last week that New Zealand will move from Level 4 to Level 3 certainly came as some relief to many small-to-medium businesses like ours.
While it is indeed a validation of the huge effort by so many people in the health and biosecurity sector, it’s also a massive vote of confidence in those businesses who choose to reopen under the Level 3 restrictions. By the Prime Ministers decree, the onus of safety moves marginally from the Ministry of Health to community businesses. In turn’, each business must weigh up all the potential risks and hazards, and then determine what steps must be taken to mitigate them. That’s a big responsibility.
About five weeks ago, as New Zealand was about to enter into the dark tunnel of the Level 4 lockdown, we scrutinised the risks associated with supplying equipment for essential services. At that time we didn’t know a lot about the incidence or the infectious nature of the virus. The greatest risk, we concluded, was the threat of a potential coronavirus carrier wandering into our showroom unannounced and inadvertently spreading the virus. It was a potential scenario over which we had little control. To reduce the risk we opted for a delivery service only whenever an emergency arose.
The NZ Covit 19 Map (available at https://covid19map.co.nz/) lists 5 current cases in the Hutt region. As at midday on the 26th April, it has been 12 days since our the last recorded case in the Hutt Valley. The double whammy of securing our borders and tracking cases & clusters has driven the number of Covid-19 cases down.
So where then is the risk to a community like ours? From what we see the greatest risk lies no so much being within 2 meters of one another but the unidentified carriers living beyond our city limits. And as a business we have the opportunity to do our bit. That’s where we think the responsibility lies.
We will be taking orders for pickup as of Tuesday 29th April. We will be adhering to the ‘Contactless Pre-order Pickup’ mantra, with good reason and a couple of twists.
Firstly, if you call us you’ll get asked where you are calling from. If it’s from the Kapiti Coast or Seatoun, sorry, but we’re going to decline the order. The risk of someone bringing the virus from outside our region is unquantifiable and too great. It’s our Number #1 threat to our team and our community.
Secondly, before we take any bookings, we’ll ask you a couple of health questions based on the Ministry of Health guidelines. If you’re offended by being asked then please don’t be offended if we decline your order. Buggar the civil liberties; we have an obligation to ensure our team members and customers are safe.
Thirdly, allowing only pre-order pickups affords us the opportunity to keep a tight control on contact tracing without needing to resort to a community ballpoint pen and a unhygienic logsheet. Each pre-booked order constitutes a record of who has been and gone. It’s simple and its elegant without any duplication.
There are a host of other changes and procedures to being finalised and implemented. Our new cleaning and sanitising protocol is exacting. We don’t think a virus will survive. It’s very much a work-in-progress situation and we will endeavour to update our Health & Safety information on our website https://www.upperhutthire.co.nz/health-and-safety/ as things evolve. Feel free to copy any of the templates or SOP’s as you need.
The aim is to move from “Essential” to “Safe”. If you have a suggestion or feedback we would love to hear it. A threat from the pandemic is such a unique beast and no one has all the answers as how to best fight this monster.