As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, an active member of this community and business owner, I am well aware of the many effects this pandemic has had on local businesses. One has only to look around at the many closed or for lease signs around us.
Our business is unique in that we are ‘front line workers’ and continue to provide service to seniors who need assistance at home. Now more than ever, it is increasingly important that our seniors have someone check in on them on a regular basis.
We are fortunate that we can get up each day, dress for work, work our regular 9-5, and continue to provide care. Following a routine greatly helps psychologically. Being open means our signs are out, the lights are on, people walking by see a viable business operating despite COVID.
What impact has COVID had on our business? We have had our challenges – what business hasn’t. We have lost a number of our senior clients who live in residence at care homes due to the fact that they are not allowing outside workers or family members to visit. It is very likely that we will see new legislation regarding staffing and companion care at care homes. This is just one of the ‘new ways of doing business’ changes we will see.
Another impact of COVID is our ability to provide staffing for our seniors and a real challenge was to find workers for the new client! Many of our workers were not earning enough or were caring for children and had to resign or be laid off. At the earliest stages of relief, one could not be sure if employees could work as well as receive the CERB. When the government announced workers receiving CERB could also earn up to $1000 in addition, this brought back some of our workforce. Good news for us! Many caregivers fear returning to work as they have children or are retired themselves and fear COVID because of their age!
Many families were concerned that we were putting good health practises in place. Were the caregivers supplied with the tools they required to do their work? Letters were written to families to ensure them we were doing all we could to provide safe care and to update them on government policies as we received them which we incorporated. Newsletters were and still are being sent out to families, and caregivers announcing new legislations, regulations and assuring families of our commitment to care.
Occupational health and safety regulations have been upgraded in our workplace to meet the standards of Provincial and Federal government. Our families and clients can be assured that caregivers will be following proper protocols.
COVID has brought people together – it isn’t just a challenge, a fear or threat! At the beginning acquiring PPE such as gloves, masks and sanitizer was very difficult and were not available to us as front line workers. Earlier in April, we had a call out to assist with sourcing masks, gloves and sanitizer. To our rescue, came Lorianne Koch, her daughter Grace and Erin & Nancy Alexander. They’ve been sewing masks to support essential service employees as they saw the need and called us to see how many we needed. They are lovely and fit well, are colourful, bright and cheery. We were so excited!
COVID has brought us new challenges, and new sayings. I’ve heard a few kicked about. I used to kid around with my grandson who would come to work with me to answer phones on holidays. I’d say, “another day, another dollar” but now it’s changed to “one foot in front of the other”, and others are saying ‘one day at a time’. This could be our ‘new normal’!