The pandemic continues but, very slowly, the economy is starting to get going. Currently, we can visit a showroom to buy a new car, or pop to a shopping centre to buy clothes (surrounded by strangers) and Boris has just announced the 'bubble' plan, which is a big step. However, it perplexes me that small gatherings of friends and family must be outside, pubs will be an interesting one when they open, and schools remain closed!
Sport is opening behind closed doors, but only certain sectors. It amazes me how football - a predominantly contact sport - can proceed (although gender specific), whilst cricket, a mainly socially distanced field sport, remains closed. I know it comes down to money, but it does not make sense! My point; in a year that should have been very clear (2020 vision), it's all blurring into something we will never forget.
Regardless of what sector you are in, maintenance has obviously continued over the past few months with positivity and pride for the surfaces you manage, in challenging conditions. So far, it has been remarkably dry for pretty much the duration of lockdown, which has no doubt impacted surfaces and maintenance and there appears to be a nationwide battle with poa.
Renovations will be at an all-time low but, given there has been no play, there will obviously be less damage. No two venues are the same and I'm sure everyone has had their own battles - I just hope that, as sport returns for each sector, so too do staffing levels and 'normal' working practices.
As we approach the summer months - typically a time for demos and meeting people - many businesses have found new ways of working and new methods of promoting their products/services to potential customers. Social distancing will remain in place for quite some time but, certainly from our perspective, we are once again conducting one on one interviews. Much like many companies and reps alike, it's great to be getting out and about.
I would like to say a huge thank you to our contributors for their sterling work throughout lockdown. Despite restrictions, they have continued to conduct telephone interviews and provide interesting, informative content which has greatly helped maintain our usual level of quality articles.
Looking further into the future, Saltex has been postponed until March 2021. It does make me wonder whether, given the reduced level of sales manufacturers will have undoubtedly suffered throughout the year, a show so close to BTME is right for them (if, in fact, BTME is allowed to go ahead of course). The requirement for coming together as an industry will always be there, so it will be interesting to see how plans are managed and how things pan out.
As always, it's important to keep talking to each other and reach out if you're struggling with personal or work issues. Leicester City groundsman Graeme Farmer gives an honest account about his struggle with mental health issues on page 74.