Impact of (COVID-19) Pandemic @Clever Botanics
With most European countries, including the UK under complete or partial lockdown, consumers are stuck in their homes, and many non-essential retailers have been forced to shut their physical store presence down. Comparatively, online retailers have mostly been able to continue shipping (although there is increasing pressure on online retailers to either shut down warehouses or at least implement more stringent safety regulations).
Here @CleverBotanics, we have Pavla now in isolation since she has mild Asthma and entering the dispatch room is not safe. Ken has to travel far and therefore is also out of action. Luckily my wife is furloughed from her full-time work at an education establishment so she can help as well as my son that has some spare time. We are therefore completing fulfilment on time every day and passing it to the Royal Mail or DHL for international destinations.
Local Post Offices have changed the working hours. The nearest Post office now closes at 1:00 pm and therefore can no longer take the end of the day Royal Mail bags. There is another nearby Post Office that accepts Royal Mail bags but it is further away from us that has a 4:00 pm deadline. Which means we had to change the deadline to guarantee fulfilment to before11:30 am on the same day. If the day is not busy then we will do our best to ship orders before 3:00 pm - but we cannot guarantee that and some may have to be fulfilled the next day.
Royal Mail Track 24 and Track48 is still being collected and delivered, as they consider it an “important way of keeping the country together and helping many people who may not have the option to leave their homes”. However, they are short of staff with many in isolation or on sick leave. At the same time, the volume of work has gone up. Therefore they cannot guarantee the usual Track 24, 48 or special delivery before 1:00 pm in many areas. Some counties are working reasonable, however many are on extremely reduced capacity, and some significant delays can on some items occasionally occur.
For example, Saturday 11th of April, which was the Easter weekend, we shipped a large number of items, and because of Easter, the majority of the packages were significantly delayed.
We are in unchartered territory, and we are learning as we go along and I hope you can forgive us and Royal Mail for occasional mistakes and delays.
The Royal Mail has introduced a number of important changes to the way it delivers mail during the coronavirus crisis
A spokesman said: "We are seeking to deliver as comprehensive a service as possible at all times.
"We are committed to ensuring we deliver for the country. Our colleagues are keeping the mail moving – delivering letters and parcels across the UK, including to those who find it difficult to leave their homes.
"Throughout this crisis, we will continue to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers. However, as cases of coronavirus increase across the UK, we, along with other organisations, are experiencing growing levels of employee absence due to illness and self-isolation.
"Absence rates are currently double what we usually expect at this time of year.
- "To manage these severe absence levels – which are growing - we are implementing a range of mitigations.
- "These include changing the time guarantee on Special Delivery and deploying non-operational managers in delivery.
- "We are working closely with approximately 11,000 Post Offices that remain open to provide another avenue – where appropriate – for you to access essential mail services.
- "Despite our best endeavours, it is likely that some areas of the country will experience a reduction in service levels due to coronavirus-related absences at their local mail centre or delivery office.
- "We will continue to actively monitor this rapidly evolving crisis. We will keep talking to you. And, we will continue to focus on the delivery of our two priorities - safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our people and the communities we serve and delivering as comprehensive a service as possible at all times.
To protect the health and safety of staff and the general public, from Monday 6 April, the Royal Mail is changing the opening times of its Customer Services Points in its local delivery offices. Largest locations will be open between 07:00-11:00 am. All other Customer Service Points will be open between 07:00-09:00 am. All will be closed on Wednesday and Sunday.
To support the Government's advice to stay at home and avoid non-essential journeys, customers are urged to only visit Customer Service Points where absolutely necessary. Items can also be redelivered for free.
Longer retention periods in Customer Service Points
To give customers longer to collect or have their item redelivered, the Royal Mail is temporarily extending the retention period to 30 calendar days from Monday 6 April before items are returned to sender.
Changes to Special Delivery Guaranteed
Due to increased absence levels, the Royal Mail has timed guarantees for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am and 1pm services and will make the following changes:
- For items posted from Tuesday 31 March 2020 onwards, guaranteed delivery for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9.00am the next working day will change to by 12.00pm the next working day*.
- Guaranteed delivery for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1.00pm will change to by 9.00pm the next working day*.
- *existing postcode exceptions apply
Signing for and receiving items
In order to protect both staff and customers as much as possible, the Royal Mail is minimising contact during delivery. Staff will not be handing over hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures but instead, log the name of the person accepting the item. Additionally, for all customers where staff need to deliver any item that won't fit through your letterbox, staff will place your item at your Door. Having knocked on your Door, staff will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside.
Delivering to care homes
The Government has introduced measures to protect our most vulnerable groups, including those in residential care. These include limiting all but essential access to care homes for external contractors.
A spokesman said: "We recognise that post is important to the elderly, particularly those away from their friends and families in care homes. Therefore, to support the effort to keep the mail moving but prevent the spread of coronavirus, we are making arrangements to deliver to a central point (e.g. reception) rather than individual addresses within care homes from 19 March. These changes will help to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our people and the vulnerable in society."
Changes to Door to door mailings
The Royal Mail will deliver unaddressed door to door advertising mailings to customers who are receiving addressed letters or parcels at the same time, wherever practically possible.
Door to door mailings provides a very valuable service to small businesses and companies of all kinds as they seek to provide their goods and services. Many small businesses need that support now more than ever. They want to send it; many consumers want to receive it. Door to door mailings also includes critical communications from local Government.
I am sure by now you all know all about the Corona Virus and COVID-19 buat here is a brief description by the Guardian newspaper;
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face.
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.Symptoms
The COVID-19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Common symptoms include:
- dry cough.
Other symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose.
People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should self-isolate and contact their medical provider or a COVID-19 information line for advice on testing and referral.
People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should call their doctor and seek medical attention.