Businesses across Richmondshire are taking part in a survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the district.
Officers from the District Council are collating a picture of how COVID-19 has affected the region, and how that can be tailored into the authority’s economic recovery plan.
Businesses across all sectors are being asked about operational impacts - such as closure, staffing, supply and demand changes, import and export issues, and the lack of specialist resources. The council also wants to know how businesses adapted to the pandemic and if they have changed or continued in the same form.
Already they have had great examples of innovation with two local gin companies making hand sanitiser. Spirit of Swaledale based in Upper Swaledale, only opened in November last year but plans for increasing sales at the beginning of 2020 were quickly shelved. So to get through the last few months they developed a hand sanitiser to sell to local people, and added a rum to their portfolio which will be launched soon.
Fellow ginmakers, Taplin and Mageean in Leyburn, also turned to making WHO approved 80% alcohol hand sanitiser supplying it free of charge to local NHS and frontline workers. It is now providing it countrywide, in a variety of volumes from 250ml to 100 litres, as people emerge from lockdown and intends to split its production for the foreseeable future.
Colburn business Nuwave Display quickly realised its trade in supplying banners and flag systems for outdoor events and the sports market was not going to exist in the summer of 2020. So they looked to use their machinery in other ways. They came up with a way of adapting their modular exhibition stands as partitions for businesses, showrooms and offices needing to create socially distanced safe spaces. Branded masks are also on the table.
And one of the hardest hit areas has been hospitality. Over at Fairhursts based at Berry's Farm in Swinithwaite sales of their new product, Wensleydale Hampers, quickly dried up.
So the team changed direction and began making ready meals. These were initially aimed at the elderly and vulnerable who were sheltering and struggling to get supermarket home delivery slots. But the market was so great they repurposed their business to sell the meals online.
“We already have some great examples of how resilient businesses have been in Richmondshire – and continue to be,” said Business Manager, Sue White.
“But we want to hear stories like this from all our businesses as well as from those that haven’t been able to adapt. That way we can tailor our recovery plan and get Richmondshire businesses back on track once more.”