Much has happened since my message on Monday but the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the health and wellbeing of our people and our company remains consistently serious.

I assure you that we are successfully escalating our pandemic emergency response in all B&M offices with a singular focus on “protecting the beehive.”  B&Mers have been pushing out sweeping organizational changes necessitated by this crisis in an absolute spectacular display of hard work, collaboration, and diligence.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts.   I am so proud and grateful.

Certain as I am that we are all getting an adequate daily dose of negative news, I would like to take a moment to share some positive observations from the past four days:

  • We have embraced the hygiene challenge.  Hand washing and respiratory etiquette have quickly become B&M core competencies and the work surfaces in our offices and sites from desktops to doorknobs have never been cleaner.
  • We have never been more “socially distanced”, transitioning nearly 400 office staff to work-from-home and with many more on some form of rotation to create greater separation with their peers.
  • Nearly 100 B&Mers have been proactively isolated at home as a precaution for possible illness or potential exposure to the virus.  We still have no known cases of COVID-19 in our employee group.
  • We have been communicating proactively and transparently with our customers
  • We are performing new work and services to help our customers manage the emerging hygiene and social separation necessities of the pandemic.
  • In spite of all the tumult and distraction, thousands of our field people continued doing their great work safely and productively

Much of our early focus has been directed at rapidly safeguarding our collective human interests and, with equal resolve and decisiveness, we are now rallying together to protect our business interests.  Government-mandated work restrictions and customer-directed deferrals and stoppages are already affecting B&M business in many places.   While we are taking action to sustain all services deemed as critical, we are also preparing for and responding to a steeper decline of available work.

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis within our communities and countries will be largely determined by the vigilance of Canadians and Americans in following the rules for arresting the spread of this virus in our homes and workplaces.  The more responsibly that each of us behaves, the less transmission and infection will occur, the more latitude our governments will have to keep business moving.

So I urge you to embrace your inner germaphobe and please stay apart.

We will publish a more detailed update of all our activities on Monday and we will soon have a dedicated internal COVID-19 website for communicating with all B&M staff more effectively in real time.   Until then, please be safe and have the best possible weekend under the circumstance.   I too find “house arrest” a little unnatural but it certainly makes me grateful for the freedom that I typically enjoy.   I find it helpful to remind myself that I am doing this for others.

Help a friend or neighbour if you can, from a safe social distance of course!   We are going to be fine if we continue to stay apart while sticking together.