Coronavirus Covid-19

Coronavirus Advice (part two) from NAJ

17 Mar 2020

UK streets quiet

Image: UK streets are expected to be a lot quieter after yesterday's advice

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday (16 March 2020) the need to delay transmission of the COVID 19 virus is paramount to minimise suffering and save lives.

The public are advised to stop unnecessary travel and reducing social contact, including working from home. The isolation of a minimum 14 days for whole households where one member has symptoms, and increased social distancing, will help reduce the ‘peak’ and take pressure off vital healthcare services.

Even if you and your household don’t have symptoms, please stop non-essential contact with others. This will impact our industry. Non-essential travel means considering work from home, avoidance of social venues/social contact, and possibly business closure or reductions in opening hours.

We are doing this to protect those in society with a greater likelihood of harm from the virus; older people over 70, pregnant women, those with significant health conditions e.g. chronic heart or lung conditions. By shielding them from contact for 12 weeks, we can reduce losses.

As expected, some areas of the UK are further ahead on the curve. London is entering a faster growth phase. To see information on your region, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-track-coronavirus-cases.

 

Slow the spread

Avoid confined spaces like pubs and restaurants, mass gatherings; stand apart from others on public transport. Stagger your journeys and consider whether they are essential.

As always, follow the latest Government advice. This will not be easy. But it is the greatest health challenge faced by our nation in recent years. However, these measures will have an effect if we all pull together.

 

Questions for today:

  1. What health mitigation measures have you put in place for your workforce? Can you demonstrate you are following best practice? Are your team and customers protected, and is their risk mitigated? Can those for whom it is possible to work from home do so? Check Government advice and follow it.
  2. How will you cope with staff absence due to forced self-isolation or, in the event of school closure, those with school-age children? Send people home to protect the rest of your workforce if necessary. Be mindful that you may need to review your contracts of employment (NAJ’s free helplines on HR may help)
  3. What plans have you in place to cope with reduced cashflow and liquidity? Have you spoken to your bank, or taken advantage of Government assistance in this area?
  4. Many countries are closing their borders, and airlines are grounding flights. This will negatively impact your access to products and likely drive up cost of purchase. Can you reduce, re-use or recycle stock rather than buying new?
  5. How will reduced delivery capacity impact your supply chain? Ensure your customers understand there may be disruption, and keep them up to date on what is happening.
  6. Shopping journeys will be reduced, further impacting foot traffic and revenue, and more consumers will be staying at home – consider how can your business support consumers who are restricted to staying at home?
  7. What can you do with staff unable to attend the workplace – can you train them (e.g. NAJ’s online learning JET Essentials naj.co.uk/qualifications) or assign them other tasks to carry out from home?
  8. Check insurances for business interruption clauses, and in contracts ‘force majeure’ clauses allow parties to delay or terminate performance of contracts in certain circumstances – do these apply to your business?
  9. Be aware your supply chain may be unable to deliver against contracts; put yourself in their shoes and try to empathise – we are all in this together, so can you help your colleagues?
  10. Don’t just focus on the short term. What plans can you make for the recovery?

 

View guidance on business planning for resilience 

 

Since the last update NAJ Chief Executive Simon Forrester has been asked questions on the following topics, and has pulled together answers from a variety of sources.

 Cleaning Jewellery

As the new coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, we’re rightly reminded to wash our hands for least 20 seconds of thorough cleaning with soap and warm water, plus regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser whenever you’re away from running water.

COVID-19 has been found to survive on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours, so the advice is to remove your watch, fitness tracker and jewellery, and clean them too.

It is also key to remove them before washing your hands, as bacteria can survive in the nooks and crevices of whatever you’re wearing, and under the strap of your watch.

Once removed, you should go about washing your watch and jewellery separately, using soap and warm water (assuming your watch is suitably water-resistant). If you are concerned about damaging a watch with water, then clean it carefully and thoroughly with a surface wipe or similar. You may also wish to use a swab to clean the item’s nooks and crannies. Allow the item to dry before putting it back on.

On hand washing, while wearing a wedding ring, Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at Nottingham University, told The Sun: “Thorough hand washing or liberal and correct application of sanitiser gels would always be advisable and that certainly means ensuring that hidden nooks and crannies are cleaned, especially under rings on fingers and the like.”

Jewellers may wish to offer a jewellery cleaning service to the public. Companies such as Connoisseur can offer a range of products suitable to offer to customers.

NB Excessive exposure to hand sanitisers or bleach may harm porous gemstones such as opals or turquoises, or affect finishes on white gold, and could loosen mounts. Hand sanitiser should never be used on coral or pearl jewellery. Ensure customers are aware not to apply moisturisers while wearing jewellery, as it can create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Use of autoclaves or ultrasonic cleaners may also damage jewellery irreparably – be careful!

 

Asking customers questions

Jewellers may wish to consider asking that any customers entering their premises confirm that they understand UK Government advice and it is okay for them to be in a public space. Explain that you have implemented this measure to help combat spread of the virus.

 

FraudWatch

The City of London Police, the national lead for fraud, have issued a fraud alert warning, highlighting a number of coronavirus-related scams. Since February 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified 21 reports of fraud where coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £800k. Ten of these reports were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. Other scams have included coronavirus-themed phishing emails and fake research organisations who can offer lists of people or locations with coronavirus.

  • Be watchful for scam messages, don’t click on links or attachments if unsure
  • Don’t give out personal details
  • Keep software and apps up to date to protect devices
  • Be wary of door-to-door fraud preying on the elderly, or our desire to help at-risk categories of society

 cleaning floors

Image: Government advice on decontamination is available

Decontamination 

Government advise is as follows:

  • cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people
  • if an area can be kept closed and secure for 72 hours, wait until this time has passed for cleaning as the amount of virus living on surfaces will have reduced significantly by 72 hours
  • wherever possible, wear disposable or washing up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished
  • using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles
  • if an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), consider using protection for the eyes, mouth and nose as well as gloves and an apron
  • wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning

View advice for decontamination in non-healthcare settings

 

Related NAJ updates

https://www.naj.co.uk/jewellery-news/coronavirus-advice-from-naj

https://www.naj.co.uk/jewellery-news/business-planning-for-resilience

 

 

 

Source: The NAJ