Lockdown From A Number Of Perspectives - Rod Taylor
Well, here we are entering week six of the Covid-19 lockdown. How has it been for you? I am writing this short account of my own experiences in my various areas of responsibility.
The pandemic has tested us in so many ways. Life right now is different for all of us with challenges to deal with and overcome, be they personal or family issues, business decisions to make now or contemplate for future survival. These are unprecedented times for the majority of us.
For Morecambe Football Club, as with the rest of football all over the country, last Saturday should have seen the football season reach a conclusion, end of season awards, players away home for a few weeks, the hallowed turf dug up and new seed sewn to develop into a fresh, lush green sward in readiness for the next campaign.
However, here we are at the end of April with nine games still to be played, league positions to be decided and many players almost at the end of their contracts and no sign of the beautiful game re-commencing and the season being completed. My personal view is that the season will not resume and the authorities will have to come up with a solution that will placate most clubs. There will be no easy solutions to this and I anticipate a number of legal challenges ahead.
I am bemused by some of the news coming out from the top echelons of our game, players “earning” enormous amounts of money refusing to take pay cuts whilst the rest of society battle through this scourge. That said, I do feel footballers are easy targets in this situation and many are helping their communities in a variety of ways.
For many years now we have had the haves and have nots in our national game, the advent of the Premier League and massive TV rights deals altered football forever. For me, this crisis has given the sport a massive opportunity to have a root and branch review, look at itself and realign its operation on a number of fronts.
This is an opportunity that could define the sport in a positive way for years to come. But if this chance is not grasped then I don’t see how the current structure of football will survive as we know it. In that scenario there will be casualties and famous, historic clubs with proud histories will disappear. I love football, it is a massive part of my life but let’s get some perspective here…….people are dying in their thousands from this terrible pandemic. We will overcome it and some sort of normality will return and with it so will our beloved national game.
As Mothering Sunday approached, we were busy at the Morecambe Hotel preparing for the celebrations but the Covid-19 virus was gathering momentum and we were starting to get cancellations as people began to isolate. The news from the Prime Minister that all pubs, restaurants, etc, had to close from the 21st March was, in many ways, a relief. We then knew what we were dealing with and could put a definitive plan into place.
It was difficult making the decision to furlough staff but with no income at all it was a short-term decision for the survival of the business in the long run and with the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement, we were assured that our staff team would be paid. We look forward to opening the doors again and welcoming back our great team of staff and loyal customers.
It has been an incredibly frustrating month. We have seen one of the sunniest Aprils on record and our beer garden would have been packed with people relaxing and enjoying themselves. Those days will return.
We have faced many challenges in our local residential care homes and were pro-active before the lockdown with precautionary measures to protect our staff and service users.
We hear many stories on the news regarding Social Care during this pandemic and I can assure you that these are undoubtedly the most difficult circumstances I have encountered in my 52 years as a professional healthcare worker. We hear of the NHS workers battling away on the front line and our thanks and gratitude goes out to them for the sterling work they are carrying out. Many people who contracted Covid-19 and have been hospitalised are now recovered and returning to their homes. Thousands more will have shown symptoms but did not require hospital admission and many more will have contracted the virus but were asymptomatic. Let’s hope we are truly turning the corner on this horrendous situation.
In Social Care the demands are enormous and equally as mentally testing for us as it is for our colleagues in the NHS. We certainly are another front line. The emotions we are experiencing and the situations we are having to deal with and endure are difficult and overbearing in the extreme. We must ensure that we continue to maintain all the necessary precautions and procedures we have implemented over the past few weeks. We have a duty of care to our residents and, as employers, we have a duty of care to our valuable staff.
I have seen some tremendous examples of the lengths the staff are going to in an effort to keep the residents entertained and help to bolster their morale. Depending on their cognitive functioning level, they will be worried about friends and loved ones or simply sensing that all is not as it should be. No visitors, no physical contact with the outside world, no trips out, we are in unchartered waters right now.
Although the days seem difficult and trying at this moment in time, we will overcome this pandemic and come through this to normality. Who knows what the timescale will be? It really does not matter at the moment as keeping safe is the priority and as we strictly follow the guidance we all have been given.
Has anyone else noticed the positive impact on our immediate environment? The beautiful clear skies we have been fortunate to enjoy both during daylight hours and at night with some lovely sights of a star-spangled sky. The sound of birds in the garden and some feathered visitors that I have not seen for a while. The dramatic drop in trains, planes and automobiles resulting in the deafening silence and tranquillity that seems to envelope us.
Together, we will come through this and perhaps there will be a change in our outlook of what is important to us and what our priorities are.
We will soon be sitting down to a Sunday roast with family and friends, hugging the grandchildren, visiting loved ones in hospital or care home, going to the pub for a beer and some social interaction, all the things that up to a few short weeks ago we took for granted and, of course…………going to the match on a Saturday afternoon!