Social distancing, the obligatory use of masks, and staggered hours, what will a post-lockdown workplace be like?
DESKS will be spaced out, lifts will be largely empty and some staff will have to stay at home-alternatives to social distancing where it is not possible are among measures being considered to let workplaces reopen.
A draft government plan to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions also urges employers to minimise numbers using equipment, stagger shift times, and maximise home-working.
Unions in Spain are concerned about companies’ ability to source protective kits, putting their member’s safety at risk. Leaders say efforts to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers could lead to businesses competing for scarce and essential supplies.
Also in the proposal are additional hygiene procedures, physical screens and the use of protective equipment should be considered where maintaining distancing of 2m (6ft) between workers is impossible. Reopening the economy will take more than modified working practices, we all know that but
“Workers must be confident they are safe. Companies must be confident they won’t be sued if they get it wrong. And consumers must be confident enough to spend money,” said a Spanish Health Ministry spokesman.
As the hospitality industry makes “baby steps” back into action it is still not clear exactly how their workplaces, bars, restaurants, and hotels have yet to receive instructions on “best practice” when dealing with members of the public.
It is known however that there will be a preference for the use of Credit Cards as this negates any chance of spreading the virus through surface contact. Masks will be obligatory but what about gloves? Speaking to Paula Emms from The Happy Mermaid in the Costa Blanca I got the impression it wasn’t going to be an easy transition.
“It’s crazy, we have only been here since September last year, my husband and I sold up in the UK and moved here after we fell in love with the place, and then suddenly it all changed. Things had been slow anyway but in March we had to close our doors, we still have rent and other costs to pay. I can’t afford to send my daughter back to school so we have withdrawn her, when things get back right we will send her to Spanish school, she is NOT happy about that!
“How on earth will we be able to serve people with masks on? Orders will get written down wrong, we need to buy hundreds of pairs of gloves, we can’t stand close to each other in the kitchen even, it’s going to be impossible to carry on. We only have a small terrace, 50 per ceent occupancy means we can seat 10 people, not enough to make it worth opening.”
That sentiment was echoed by the other bar owners I talked with, they are desperate to open, but at the same time scared of getting fined for not obeying the rules. It waits to be seen if there will closures and job losses, one thing is certain though, this year looks like it will be the worst year ever for Spain’s economy.