COVID-19 is reshaping the world. It has disrupted trade, put up walls between countries and neighborhoods, and has changed daily life. In Canada, the spread of the virus has altered the course of business and immigration. The food supply is also changed forever. While Canada does not have as many cases as some other countries throughout the world, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been easy.
All kinds of businesses are being forced to rethink how they engage with customers. Since most plumbing professionals work as independent contractors or as a company, the stay-at-home strategy and shut-down of businesses has impacted the plumbing industry as well.
First, here is what we know for certain about COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus:
- COVID-19 is more contagious than the common flu and cold
- COVID-19 can cause respiratory complications and other odd symptoms, such as sores on the feet
- Anyone can get the virus, not just those who are immunocompromised
- The virus is similar to SARS in that it is transmitted through airborne particles. It can survive on surfaces for at least 24 hours and may be present in untreated waste for 2 weeks
- COVID-19 can be spread through plumbing systems, especially older systems that haven’t been maintained. Such a case happened in Hong Kong, where several individuals in the same complex had gotten coronavirus.
- The virus has been detected in fecal matter from patients undergoing treatment, but there is no reported transmission of the virus from human waste
- Since the main form of transmission happens from droplets expelled during coughing, sneezing, and talking, personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential
Plumbers have been called essential in these uncertain times, meaning that they are people going out and risking exposure to the virus when your plumbing system fails. Because of this risk, the industry has made some countermeasures.
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Plumbers, Their Businesses, and Work In General
Many businesses immediately decided to protect their employees, since they are coming into contact with sensitive materials. Small business owners, for example, are trying to cut down on contact with others by offering video calls to assist with less complicated issues. This also limits travel.
If plumbers do have to visit your home, they are going to be fully dressed in PPE—mask, gloves, goggles, and more. This ensures that both the technician and the client are safe. Furthermore, the plumber will most likely never come within six feet (about 2 meters) of you.
Some companies are asking their employees to take their temperature regularly and to call in sick the moment they develop symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19. Other places are deep cleaning their facilities and preventing visitors from entering unless absolutely necessary.
Training and seminars are being held online as well, to ensure that plumbers can maintain their education.
The plumbing industry is going to be changed once this is all over, that much is for sure. New practices about social distancing and how to work through plumbing problems are going to be adopted and kept forever. How plumbers solve issues and interact with customers is also going to change, but it should be for the better!