Covid 19 – 16th March 2020
It only takes a worldwide epidemic to trigger the use of our website Blog, hopefully as we continue to use this, the messages will be a little more upbeat.
As I lay here writing this, with my 1 year old daughter, attacking my keyboard, but happy as punch, that she’s learnt how to high 5, and kiss her mum and dad, I question the whole point of this blog, and also the panic we are all adding to it globally.
Who can stop ( and would want to stop ) human interaction?
If you were to wake up from a coma, to find you were in mass isolation and zombie apocalyptic behaviour was going on around you, fighting in supermarkets, and chasing around town for toilet roll, and then establish that only people over 80 are dieing, from what is essentially a variation of influenza, you would question your own sanity, you would question which century we were in, and you would definitely ask “why”.
As a result of worldwide government policies to combat the Covid-19 including nationwide lockdowns in Italy and Spain, Every business perceives themselves as being likely to be affected negatively by CoronaVirus, none more so than “Corona” – reporting a loss in sales of 135 million, after just 2 months of Coronavirus association, and they like lots of other business’ fear that the end is near, and the light at the end of the “business” tunnel is getting closer, the doors are going to shut and the last orders bells going to ring one final time.
Or so we think, ….
With a little digging you will find that this is a grossly generalised, misquoted piece of information that is praying on our intrigue and trust in the media and in some, myself included, a morbid curiosity of how this whole situation is going to “evolve”. In actual fact all mainstream beer suppliers across the world and particularly China have experienced huge dips, Corona is just one of them, but it wouldn’t sound as good if we said Stella was losing its sales. Just for comparison, ABV inbev has lost 235 million in this quarter. (1)
As Mannings is an SME, the light at the end of the tunnel is arguably never far away, but surely if everybody treated this illness like a usual strain of influenza … the biggest killer known to humankind. (4) then business across the world would resume as normal?
Flu; Covid-19s socially accepted bigger brother, kills 0.1 percent of the people it infects and takes hundreds of thousands of lives each year, (17,000 in the uk) right now according to BNO figures, (6) we have around a 3% death rate in Covid-19, which is significantly more, but with nobody coming out of hiding, or daring to go to the doctors, are these numbers right? We know the USA have only screened travellers, as that was perceived to be the hot spot areas for cases, but it doesn’t mean the virus hasn’t spread elsewhere. And we know the UK are some of the lowest ratio of legitimately screened residents, probably something to do with the low levels of infection we demonstrate at both sites.(4) (5)
On learning about Covid-19 I was initially keen for a world wide “ chicken pox party”(3) Lets “have done with it” after all, we will contract this strain of virus sooner or later, it is just an eventuality. Is thought, 70% of the world will have it in a year, and the symptoms can go unnoticed in a lot of cases, as it does in 10%-14% of typical flu cases (4) we can then just add it to the collection of flu strains we have, and stop glorifying it with a name, like we do our storms.
Unfortunately my theory fell short, as the reality of our drug manufacturing became apparent, we have vaccines for flu to minimise the effects, and with Covid 19 we haven’t finished our clinical trials, and it could be another 2 months. So, “chicken pox party “ went out of the window, as we do need to slow down the effects of this disease, in order to preserve our Health Service and population.
Hopefully with some celebrities contracting the disease, we can begin to gain insight into their experiences. Which in turn should allow some of the scare mongering and fear to settle down.
With Ireland closing its pubs on Sunday, and French people being arrested for continuing to use their pubs after being asked to close them, the reality of our pubs being closed is getting ever nearer, this coupled with the fact that all Sport has been cancelled, really does start to paint a bleak picture for our immediate future as brewers. But with every cloud, comes a silver lining….There are going to be Government handouts, there is SSP support, there are reductions in rates, but this support alone is almost definitely not going to cover the losses that an unattended business will experience through this time of uncertainty.
Our thoughts at Mannings, on how to proceed with the Covid-19 at hand, run inline with the above concept that it’s a real thing, but do we really know the extent of it? There is a lot of dangerous click bait, and a fear induced rush to trust in the media. And we only get to see what we are shown.
Whether this is a conspiracy, a trade war, a gross piece of tabloid selling or anything else, we need to protect the NHS, we’ve fought hard enough to keep it over the years, and of course we need to look after our family members, general population and people around us, and we can do this by protecting our business’ at the same time.
So our strategy moving forward is not much different to most other stiff upper lipped Brits.
Firstly, let’s get this bit of house keeping out of the way, – If staff are suffering the symptoms of COVID 19, – Dry cough, and sore throat, and flu like symptoms, they will be.
Onto the good stuff.
In our pubs.
In our brewery.
There is enough evidence out there to build a case to say that this is the worst disease since the smallpox wiped out south america, or the black plague of England to which we sing advisory songs about to our kids. ( ring a ring of roses)
There is equally enough evidence out there to say that this is no worse than a common cold, and this many people get infected and die, normally.
As a business and a bunch of passionate humans, we have to tread down the middle, we are all desperate for our business’ to succeed, so are our employees, our customers, and do you know what, so is the government. After all, we don’t dodge our taxes and we pay enough duty.
Our industry is all about creating social interaction, and happy memories, through quality beers that you can drink with friends, so the sooner this passes, the sooner we can get back to business as usual.