COVID-19 and the industry
It has only been a few months since we first heard the term coronavirus – and now I cannot go an hour without either hearing or reading about a new case somewhere in the world. Governments have announced state of emergencies across Canada and the U.S. It feels like the entire country has shut down.
Toilet paper shortages. Self-isolations. Events are being cancelled left, right and centre. This has turned into something I have never seen before nor do I want to go through again.
Currently there are over 200,000 cases worldwide with more than 600 cases in Canada. Our editor wrote about this very topic for our March issue only a few weeks ago when the world total was 90,000, with 27 in Canada and no deaths. We now have five reported deaths due to the virus – four in British Columbia and one in Ontario.
All the available information seems to suggest that this virus will spread across Canada – it is not if, but when.
For the time being, private businesses have not yet been told to completely close doors. But that doesn’t mean workers might not be at risk. I have found that every time I check my email there is some company that has closed for the time being. Every business is taking a big financial hit from this crisis.
I applaud people for their quick response to self-isolate to slow down the virus and ensure our health system can help as many people as possible. Our industry must make sure that our workforce stays safe. For those that can, work from home, as the P&HVAC staff and many other organizations and companies are doing.
But what does this all mean for the contractors and their trades people? They can’t work at home. Plumbing and HVAC/R systems need to be repaired when they break.
There was a recent report by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) that warned anyone working on sanitary drainage systems to assume that the virus is present. Plumbers are encouraged to wear proper personal protective equipment, including full-face shields that are worn over safety glasses. They are also advised to increase the frequency of handwashing and wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, avoid touching their face, and cover any open cuts or wounds. Be careful!
And please let our team know how this pandemic has affected your business and what your company has been doing to fight against the spread of COVID-19; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.