It’s fair to say the past few weeks have been extraordinary.

Since the arrival of coronavirus in the UK and the government’s lockdown announcement, what has occurred has been unprecedented and unforeseen.

Crises come and go but this is unlike any other and will remain with us for some time. So we must adapt accordingly.

Safety first

At Stag Print we take the welfare and safety of our colleagues and customers very seriously. So we have introduced stringent hygiene and working procedures to enable us to remain open for business and support our customers providing essential products and services. From catering companies and food manufacturers, to pharmaceutical and teaching organisations. They are all doing an outstanding job and we applaud them.

For our customers to continue providing their essential products and services, we must continue to provide their essential print and packaging requirements. Which, in particular, explains why the packaging industry has only seen a single digit decrease in output thus far.

With the marketing print side of our business taking a nosedive, unfortunately there isn’t enough work to occupy the full team and so we have had to furlough some staff with the remaining team entering the premises on alternate days to enable us to practice safe social distancing. We have also increased production days from five to seven days a week to help with this.

Other steps we have taken include disinfecting all deliveries as they come in and deep cleaning surfaces and handles on arrival and before we leave. And when we really can’t keep safe distances on production lines our MD is enlisting the help of his family – we are a family business after all – live together, work together!

Paper and board facts

While hard surfaces are high risk when it comes to coronavirus, paper and board packaging are not. Recent research from paper industry organisation Two Sides shows: “The material itself is not a good location for the virus to exist…coronavirus lasts longest on smooth, non-porous surfaces such as plastic. Since paper and cardboard are porous, they carry the lowest potency for the shortest period of time.”

Welcome support

These are truly testing times and the government must be commended for acting quickly to provide the business support packages they have. We, and many others we know, have already made good use of them.

The furlough scheme in particular provides reassurance for employees and certainty for employers. But there are still gaps in assisting owner-managed companies like ours. More attention here Mr Sunak would be much appreciated. And the proposed end of the furlough scheme in June will bring a high level of uncertainty as we don’t expect demand to return to pre-Covid19 levels any time soon.

For now, it is what it is and we are where we are. So we will continue to adapt in adversity and navigate this so-called ‘new normal’.

Take care and stay safe.