We're staying open for business
In light of the government announcement last night we've been reviewing how things stand at Cheeky Wipes and whether we should continue to operate. Under government guidelines, we don't have to close. We are an online shop, which were specifically mentioned as being allowed to be open. We provide essential items, in reusable hygiene products. (Even yesterday, my local supermarket had no toilet paper at all in it's aisles.) And as an online shop we aren't in contact with members of the public, which massively reduces our risk also.
This isn't going to be a 'two weeks and we're done' thing. This isn't going to go away overnight, we are likely to have restrictive measures in place for quite some time. Although lockdown measures have eased in China, schools, restaurants, cinemas etc remain closed, two months down the line.
I also have a duty of care to my staff.
My decision, based on assessing the hazards and risks is to stay open for the meantime and continue to clear our backlog and get orders out.
I thought it might help to explain my thinking and how we are mitigating the risks....
As I see it, we have two major hazards. The first is the very obvious hazard from Covid-19.
The second one, whilst less obvious is just as dangerous and likely to cause more misery long term. And that is the wider economic risk. The risks of people losing their jobs or not having a work place to go back to because the business can't continue to operate.
Even with the government support measures and funding announced, this has got to be paid for. We need businesses to keep paying their taxes to keep the country afloat.
With Covid-19, we *could* eliminate the risk totally by closing our doors. However that creates huge economic risk for the business ongoing. In our area, East Sussex, there are only 9 confirmed cases of Covid-19. I'm aware that the actual numbers are likely to be significantly higher as we aren't testing just self-isolating, but by comparison with many other areas of the country, there is a much lower risk in this area.
The next steps therefore are to Isolate - and we're doing that, anyone with any symptoms knows that they should self isolate for 14 days and they will get fully paid for that time period.
We can also Reduce the risk, using Control methods - keeping as far apart as possible, moving our workstations, frequent cleaning of workspaces and hand washing.
We have another risk, which is the risk of being overwhelmed with orders. At the moment we are working with a 6 day backlog which is more than we would like! In order to reduce this, we have pretty much stopped promoting the business online for the time being via paid ads. We've also temporarily suspended our Amazon account, until such times as we are caught up.
We're doing our absolute best. Most of us are juggling work with having kids at home which as I'm sure a lot of you are aware, is a HUGE challenge in itself. The management team are meeting daily to review the situation and keep on top of things.
I want to thank each and every member of staff personally for what they've done to date. It means a lot.
What this means for you, our customers
We want to get our backlog cleared and be able to manage the volume of orders ongoing. In order to do this, we taken two steps which will remain in place for the near future:
- we have simplfied the product line available which makes it much easier to pick, pack and dispatch
- we have removed express shipping options such as new VIP customers and DPD. We believe it's fairer for everyone to join the queue and wait at this point in time
I hope this clarifies why we're continuing to stay open, and as always, I want to thank you, our customers for your ongoing support and patience.