Covid 19 - Important Bartons Update

Business as Usual but with Precautions

Bartons as an employer have a duty of care both professionally and morally to support the health and wellbeing of our staff, families and customers. Starting last week and escalating over the weekend, we have begun a process of education and increased measures of containment to further support our people and restrict this outbreak. This plan will continue to develop this as the situation evolves.

We are working through a process of how to manage our business with less staff due to flu like symptoms and are encouraging our staff to discuss with us any concerns. Where possible we will implement plans that will involve a combination of paid annual leave, paid sick leave, work from home and in some circumstances unpaid leave. We are hopeful that should matters deteriorate to the point where schools/daycare centres and mass gatherings involving smaller groups are banned, that the Government will provide substantial financial support to businesses such as
ours. This would be needed should it become so dire - we just will not be able to financially survive a downturn as experienced by countries such as China or Italy on our own. Having said this – our Government has never abandoned business before, and we don’t believe they will should conditions significantly deteriorate.

We are not for a moment believing that this will escalate to these extremes and have confidence that the measures currently being undertaken are adequate. We do suspect that there will be increases in bans resulting in school/daycare closures, yet we are hopeful that our staff are able to work together on the need for flexibility on a case by case basis. We will review all situations including the potential, subject to risk-based assessments, of allowing staff to bring children to the workplace.

While we understand the need for paid, and even in some cases unpaid sick leave, the impact this could have on the business at such a time can be devastating. At Bartons, I am personally confident that our staff, families and customers will be as supportive as possible while we will continue to work through a process/plan that allows normality as far as is possible. Fortunately, it is business as usual up to and including today for our staff and customers. It is definitely not time for a sickie and Netflix on the couch as businesses across the country scramble to keep their doors open. We have had many over the last couple of days adopt the conservative approach to this by remaining at home with symptoms but working to as to not let down the business and their work colleagues. We have also implemented a leave reduction plan to assist with this being so well supported today when announced. It is early days, but I cannot thank our staff enough to date for their support.

Our attendance rate today at the dealership is honestly better than a usual Monday and our customer transactions seem to be holding up reasonably constant – this is a credit to our staff and customers for carrying on with life with common sense. Let’s hope this continues. A big thanks also to our customers who continue to keep coming into Bartons.

My wife and I have today set about taking a pro-active approach to the matter as well – we were in Bali for 5 days and arrived back last week with flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose and a mild cough. We had not experienced fatigue or fever and as such were not concerned. However, to be sure by not rushing back to work today and to understand the process we both as of yesterday took the direction to self-isolate, get tested and remain in self-isolation until these results are returned. We expect this to be within 48 hours. I don’t have the luxury in this instance of 2 days of Netflix, so I am working feverishly (pardon the pun) from my home office ensuring we are proactive with this whole epidemic or as the W.H.O has termed – a Pandemic. I can share that other staff have returned also from Bali with similar timings – some with nil symptoms and others with similar symptoms. While some took the approach of self-isolation, others have taken the approach to be tested with one returning positive to COVID 19. However, two staff members have returned influenza A positive tests which is quite normal. Other staff with flu-like symptoms are being managed on a case by case basis. 

What to do if you experience any concerns or symptoms

If you are experiencing any symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, contact a doctor or call 13HEALTH (13432584). Many doctor surgeries are asking patients with these symptoms to phone ahead as they may be directed to a specialist COVID 19 clinic.

What else are we doing at Bartons? I have included a flyer that we are distributing across our dealerships for staff and customers.Should anyone have any questions they are welcome to direct them to myself personally.

Mark Beitz – Managing Director – Bartons (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)