Wary, apprehensive, relieved, delighted, distressed, opposed… the views of both business and the public span the spectrum as the country emerges slowly from strange weeks of almost complete hibernation in one of the sunniest and warmest springs in memory and the driest on record.
Key workers have obviously been keeping calm and carrying on magnificently for the duration but, for everyone else, normal life has been at a virtual standstill. Now, however, the country is gradually getting going again. Social distancing, endless queues to get in anywhere, along with masks, gloves and handwashing are already overshadowed by the threat of a second wave of infection; this is the temporary norm, and no one knows how long this ‘new normal’ will last.
Dealing with the ‘new normal’
The question now engaging those occupied with running businesses is how to manage going forward in this ‘new normal’ and keep the public safe when they leave their homes. Track and trace measures are yet to come into force and still, no one knows for sure who is carrying the infection as figures show up to 80% of infected people experience either mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.
How will large office blocks, retail centres and transport hubs manage the scores of moving people throughout the day? Construction sites are a particular problem when the governing body for the industry has deemed the wearing of masks to be a hazard for this type of work.
The ‘new normal’ is very likely to include body temperature detection cameras installed in multiple, everyday locations, from shops to offices to social and entertainment venues. These specially designed thermal imaging devices instantly identify anyone with an elevated body temperature, which is known to be a significant indicator when a person is reacting to a Coronavirus infection. Far from being seen as intrusive, they are the simplest way to reassure staff, customers and visitors they’ll be as protected as possible.
Once safely inside a building though, how will those with tens of floors continue to manage the flow of people needing to use a lift when social distancing means only one or two people are the maximum allowed in at a time? It could take half the day for people to even get to their desks!
Opening-up a dormant building:
At the other end of the spectrum are the premises that have been shut for months on end and are likely to remain so if they are in the hospitality or arts and culture sector. Some of these will have the additional problem of legionella bacteria that develops and multiplies in standing water tanks and cisterns. Water systems must be checked before anyone so much as turns on a tap, and the same goes for lifts, air-conditioning, and all the other M&E aspects of a building. It’s a huge challenge for Facilities Managers across the board.
The smallest shop and biggest store are equally at risk. Are the premises even still secure or have vandals or thieves, squatters or fly-tippers been nefariously busy while the building has been unoccupied or mothballed?
It seems as if every aspect of our new life presents one kind of problem or another to return to some sort of safe normality, but what to do for the best? Some problems will be resolved by following Health & Safety guidelines. Detecting potential infections in people and securing/re-securing a property is the remit of CCTV & property security experts.
If your property has been vandalised, squatted or fly-tipped, there’s a need for immediate action to help remove illegal occupants and clean-up the mess safely as it will likely be contaminated with hazardous waste and drug paraphernalia. If this action is ahead of a planned return to work or business reopening, consideration should be given to incorporating security measures to prevent further ingress until the property is ready to reopen. This could be appropriately positioned concrete barriers in car parks and vulnerable entrances and/or metal screens or security doors to keep out trespassers.
Whatever your process for returning your business to some sort of normality, it’s clear that it’s way more complicated than simply unlocking the door and switching on the lights.