Below we explain how Bournes are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic and how our services are currently impacted.
- Introduction from Managing Director Wesley Bourne
- How we are keeping our customers, employees and communities safe
- Service Status updates
- Potential impacts on International Removals Services
- Potential impacts on Destination Relocation Services
- Impact assessments for Corporate Clients
- Frequently Asked Questions
Dear valued customer,
I hope it goes without saying that as always, my team and I are committed to providing the best possible service to you, especially through unprecedented challenging circumstances like those we have experienced recently.
My team have been working round the clock to protect everyone involved in our business, from our employees and their families to our customers and global mobility clients, to our supply chain colleagues to our local communities (and particularly the most vulnerable members of society at this time).
What is happening in the UK?
The UK government are continously monitoring infection rates and adjusting restrictions accordingly. This means the situation is very fluid and often different measures are applied in different areas.
Currently household goods moving services are permitted to operate freely, with recommended Covid-19 Secure Workplace guidelines. In addition the British Association of Removers have provided further industry-specific guidelines for safety and have recommended implementation by its members.
Below we have set out the implications for our business and its customers at this time. We continue to review the situation in the UK and Globally and will update this information whenever there are any changes.
At Bournes we are open for business.
I would like to thank all of our customers, employees and colleagues worldwide for their understanding and support during these challenging times.
If you have any concerns about what this information means for you specifically please contact us by email email@example.com or call us on +44 1797 228000.
Wesley Bourne, Managing Director
How bournes are responding to Covid-19 / Coronavirus
A cross functional task force at Bournes is working together to continuously review and update our business response to the COVID-19 outbreak as it evolves. We are undertaking dynamic risk assessments and implementing the results in renewed enhanced Health and Safety procedures within our Operational Guidelines, in line with health authority guidance.
We are stringently following national and global guidelines from government and health authorities including the World Health Organisation and the NHS as well as professional sources and industry associations like the British Association of Removers. We are working together across our organisation and supply chain to minimise the impact as best we can.
We have produced detailed guidelines for customers, staff and supply chain regarding their responsibilities for safety under our ‘Safe Mover Code’.
These guidelines include:
- Offering alternative remote pre-move surveys by video, phone or online inventory where preferred to reduce the need to visit customers’ homes in person.
- Promoting hand and respiratory hygiene.
- Recommending social distancing on all work sites including customer homes and recommending use of comprehensive PPE where this is not possible.
- Following NHS guidelines for those who display symptoms or may be at higher risk.
- Implementing stringent workplace cleaning processes including deep cleaning and sanitisation of vehicles, equipment, warehouses and office spaces.
- Implementing hybrid working with flexible home/office working offered for appropriate roles.
- Providing full guidance to all clients ahead of their move explaining their responsibilities and setting out how we plan to work.
- Signposting information from credible sources and dispelling popular myths that may inadvertently lead to inappropriate action being taken.
- Compliance with any communicated client requirements and guidelines, specifically for situations where our staff are physically present on site. (Please let your account manager know if any additional requirements are in place for your organisation).
Please let us know if you would like further details, or a full copy of the Safe Mover Code Guidelines by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01797 228000.
Ensuring safety worldwide
Where appropriate we are also working closely with our global partners to:
- ensure application of these processes and guidelines to protect employees and customers within our supply chain, including local service providers globally. Our global network, Harmony Relocation Network, has issued a mandatory COVID-19 compliance code to ensure that a minimum standard of global safety is applied, which individual members can then build on to meet local requirements.
- Closely monitor and understand the continuously changing latest country updates and issues as required.
Safety guidance for customers
We are issuing all customers with guidance on the actions our household goods moving crews (and where appropriate our other personnel who visit customer sites, e.g. move consultants) will be taking on site at their properties where these moves must take place. We are asking for their support in facilitating these measures that aim to protect themselves and our crews. This guidance includes:
- Ensuring the property and effects are clean and safe to enter.
- Informing us in advance if anyone in the household has symptoms of Covid-19 or is in a high risk category.
- Minimising risk by maintaining a safe distance and recommending wearing of face masks/coverings.
- Providing hand washing facilities.
Virtual pre-move surveys
We are offering alternative remote pre-move surveys by video, phone or online inventory where preferred to reduce the need to visit customers’ homes in person.
We are still offering in-person pre-move surveys where preferred. Our Move Consultants will follow the ‘safe mover code’ guidelines set out above whenever visiting your home in person.
Impact on Storage Services
Our Storage Facilities have temporarily closed to public access in line with the government's requirements. We can still carry out moves to and from our storage facilities, however we cannot provide provide access to our storage facility unless for essential requirements. If you believe your requirement is classified as urgent please contact us on 01797 228000 or by email email@example.com.
Physical Removals and Relocation services outside of the UK
Services that are due to be completed in destinations that do not have movement restrictions will go ahead as planned. Representatives from our Customer Services team are working from home to support these moves and will directly communicate with their customers to confirm arrangements.
Where movement is restricted our Customer Services team will urgently contact clients to inform them what this means for their relocation and establish contingency plans on a case by case basis.
Please note that the global situation is changing daily and we can provide no guarantee that moves will be unaffected. We are however committed to keeping our customers informed and working with you to do everything we can to minimise the impact whilst maintaining safety.
Potential impact of Covid-19 on International Removals Services
Please be aware whilst we are not experiencing all of the below we would like to bring the possibility of these issues to your attention ahead of your move. Your move manager will work closely with you to guide and advise on anything that could specifically affect your move.
- International Carriers are still advising they are operating as normal but with space at a premium we strongly encourage early booking to secure space on preferred vessels.
- We have been advised that some emergency surcharges may be implemented by individual shipping lines. We will notify you if there are any additional charges for individual relocations.
- Due to significant currency fluctuations at this time the amount invoiced to us for freight by the shipping line may change considerably from the time of quoting. We will inform you at the earliest possible point if this will mean you are likely to incur any additional charges
- We have already seen some ports close temporarily due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 before reopening. We are likely to see increased delays at destination moving forward. Currently shipping lines are advising that customers are responsible for all charges relating to delays. Their reasoning is that if the terminal/port has invoiced the shipping line for these charges then they need to be recovered from the customer. The hope is that this position will change and the terminal/port will waive/defer these charges enabling the shipping lines in turn to not charge their customers. At this time however we must advise clients to assume they will be liable for these additional costs, however we will advise further on a case by case basis.
- Some ports are/may impose a quarantine period before ships are allowed to dock dependent on the departure date from its last port of departure and/or if any of its passengers have joined the ship from another country since then. This may cause delays in transit time, however your move manager will keep you up to date regarding individual shipments that are affected.
- Some countries are closing their borders to non-essential travel. Our ability to cross the border under ‘transit of goods’ exceptions can vary so we will inform you on a case by case basis if your move is affected.
- Some countries and/or cities have ordered non-essential businesses to close and everyone except key workers to stay at home. Again, the impact on our ability to travel and our partners ability to operate varies depending on each country’s governments decisions on what constitutes ‘essential business’ and so our move managers will inform you on a case by case basis if your move is affected.
- Significant alterations to air travel schedules is impacting pet relocation which may be postponed. We will advise any families relocating with their pets individually to evaluate alternative options or plans.
- Some countries are introducing obligatory paperwork in response to COVID-19, for example to allow drivers to enter quarantined areas for the purpose of transporting, loading and unloading goods. Your move manager will ensure all the correct paperwork is completed and will contact you directly if there is any further information or action required on your part.
Impact on Relocation Services
Our relocation clients (for example home search or area orientation trips) may also experience some of the following:
- Increased support required by assignees currently on assignment in a host location. For example, a requirement for Short Term Accommodation and/or rental furniture due to international travel restrictions, as well as language or cultural training to support them in navigating challenging and out of the ordinary conditions.
- Delay in securing Visa’s or permits due to government immigration department restrictions.
We will do everything in our power to mitigate these risks but want to highlight the potential issues so that we can work together to prepare.
Working with our Corporate Clients
As always, we value the relationships we have with our clients. Our Account Managers will coordinate with client Global Mobility teams to evaluate any client specific implications and we welcome any sharing of best practice or measures being implemented within your own organisation
Due to the different situation in different countries service impacts may vary depending on your individual relocation situation. We'd be happy to talk to you about how relocation services are affected in the areas covered by your company 1-1.
Book a 1-1 impact assessment
Book a 1-1 discussion with our relocation team and we can help you evaluate the impact of Coronavirus worldwide on your relocation programme.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We have addressed some specific questions below that relate to how we are handling the Coronavirus pandemic at Bournes.
Someone in our house is vulnerable, what should we do?
When you contact us for a quote we will ask you about your individual circumstances. If someone in your home is vulnerable then we'll work with you to make a plan that keeps them safe, tailored to their personal needs. We will be as flexible as possible with our planning and procedures to facilitate this.
Will face masks be worn?
Where our staff cannot keep 2m+ distance between themselves and others (for example when lifting a heavy item like a sofa) we do recommend the use of face masks and to keep the amount of time in close contact to a minimum. (Please note: in the UK use of face masks is currently NOT mandated by Government and therefore this is a recommendation only. Should you wish the crew to wear masks please feel free to let the team leader know on arrival and they will be happy to oblige).
What will customers need to do about safety?
We will provide you with clear guidance ahead of your move to help you understand what you need to do and what you can expect from us during the move. Your responsibilities may include providing hand-washing facilities (if available), and cleaning frequent touch points ahead of our arrival.
What happens if lockdown measures get stricter?
We are continuously monitoring the lockdown rules as well as advice and best practice guidance provided to businesses to ensure Covid-19 secure working.
We regularly cross-check current guidance against our safe mover code and will quickly adapt if necessary, ensuring all staff members are trained in any updates.
Your personal move manager will work with you to manage your move planning, including any changes that need to be made if the rules change.
What happens if someone in our household has Covid-19 symptoms?
We will ask you about your wellness prior to your move. If you or anyone in your household has experienced Covid-19 symptoms we will work with you to make any adjustments to our plans to ensure you can continue to self isolate safely.
For the protection of our employees, your own family and the public it is important that you tell us about any symptoms, including a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste/smell so that we work together to minimise risk.
Will my move get cancelled if Bournes has an outbreak of Covid-19 and significant numbers of staff are unable to work?
Cancelling a move will be our very last resort. In the event of any positive cases of Covid-19, as well as responding quickly to protect our employees and their contacts, our Operations team will review any impact on our planned moves.
We have a large team of crew members and a wide mix of business so wherever possible will use this flexiblity to ensure moves can go ahead as planned.
Where this is not possible, for example due to large scale absence, we will work to review mutually agreed alternative solutions, this may include amending Move Schedules or working with approved partners to bring in additional resource.
Your move manager will communicate with you at all times to ensure you are aware of any potential issues and solutions.
Please refer to our terms and conditions to find out more about what happens in the unlikely event that your move needs to be cancelled or postponed due to circumstances outside of our control.