In the past week, we confirmed a new case of COVID-19 within our ranks. An employee in Quebec tested positive and remains ill at home with at present. This individual is on temporary layoff and has not had any recent contact with coworkers. The other five employees who were previously infected are now fully recovered.
The B&M business story follows similar themes to recent updates. We are diminished but steady as a total company. Our activity as measured by hours-worked was similar to each of the prior two weeks. We are also continuing to see wide variations by location. In communities least affected by the pandemic, our local operations have remained near regular levels of activity. Others are cautiously restoring capacity. In many places, we continue to wait for the pandemic to abate so that government restrictions can be lifted and we can return our idled people to work.
Our news is full of grim reminders of the perilous economic conditions we now find ourselves in. The enormity of the job loss across North America during April is very disturbing. Although there is a lot of talk of “re-opening”, I believe most of us can see it will be a long climb back up the hill. B&M is prepared for the climb in many ways. Our goal is make haste slowly. “Festina lente” as the Romans used to say. We aim to restore our business purposefully and carefully so we are strongest in recovery not the quickest.
We have already adjusted to a new way of operating based on the new hygiene, cleaning and distancing norms. We are now measuring the near-term effects of this new operational methodology on cost and productivity so we can better forecast financial outcomes and measure the relative health of our work backlog. This analysis will in turn inform our estimates and work pursuits of any adjustments we require to remain competitive over the months ahead.
To be of use to anyone, we need to stay healthy and keep the virus at bay. So all of our work to restore our operations at sites and in our offices will continue to be guided by the same prudence, caution and common sense that we have demonstrated over the past two months.
I too am feeling the onset of “spring fever” and a growing restlessness with the lockdown but we simply have to keep at it. Each of us needs to be a friend to all in order to make this better.
I appreciate your patience and perseverance. We are making progress.