CAI & Coronavirus 20/03/2020

As with many organisations, we are working through the implications of the current pandemic, and also trying to think of ways we can help members. If there are any additional services or information you feel we could provide at this time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. As I’ll explain below, there could be times when it takes longer than usual to get through to us on the phone, but you can always use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for queries or requests.

From many of your customer’s point of view, your services could be more important than ever before.  Access to TV, radio and broadband, for news and entertainment, has never been more important, especially to the vulnerable groups and older people who’ve already been told to stay at home for at least the next 12 weeks.  Hopefully, for those of you who undertake domestic work this will provide some additional business during the economic crisis that is accompanying the health one.  If ever there was a 4th emergency service it is our members now, not the AA.  We’ve had several queries asking whether our members and their staff could be described as key workers.  We’ve had no official guidance on this yet, but have sought it.  In the meantime we feel a common sense approach is required.  From a schools perspective it’s unlikely that many of our members would be classed as telecommunications engineers and thus entitled to keep sending their children in.  However from the perspective of the potential of an increasingly strict lockdown, we feel that the job you’re undertaking is the decider of whether or not you can consider yourself, or your staff, as key workers undertaking essential travel.  If you’re restoring the PSB’s and access to news, information and entertainment to an old people’s home or a vulnerable customers house, I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s not an essential task, if you’re upgrading a customer’s home cinema system, then maybe not.  Fortunately we haven’t reached the stage when even those who can’t work from home are being told to stay in, but it could yet come.

We also completely recognise though, that this will be a tough time for many members, especially those with contracts in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors, as well as those working on sites that will close down if there are large numbers of staff absent, or if the developers decide to delay projects due to the economic uncertainty.  There are no easy solutions to this, but we hope you’re investigating all the government support available and we’re also hoping there will be more announcements of help to come. 

We’re currently developing guidance regarding working in customers’ homes, and contacts with them. But in the meantime common sense and government advice applies – wash your hands or use hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol, whenever you arrive at and leave a customer, and any points in between you feel appropriate,  try to keep at least 2m away from them, wear gloves if you feel necessary, and wear a mask if you have any concerns about the customers health or that of their wider household.  Clearly your, and your staffs, health and safety is a matter for you alone, but it’s essential you’re all ensuring that everyone stays as safe as possible.

Lastly, for now, as you can imagine we’re having to make changes to the way we work at CAI. As far as we can we need to work from home, and are currently undertaking the steps required to enable this to happen.  However our telephone system is not adaptable in this way.  Consequently it’s likely that one of us will be in the office answering the phone every day.  This means that it may take longer to get through than usual, and as we are not all able to answer all queries we may have to take messages and get someone to call you back some of the time.  So please bear with us during this time.

As I said at the top, we’re keen to help in any way we can, so please get in touch if you have requests or ideas for ways we can do this. Lastly we wish you, your staff, families, suppliers and customers good health, and we hope that we all come out of this as quickly as possible.