Bournes Coronavirus Update

Posted by By Bournes Relocation Solutions - March 31, 2020

coronavirus response plan

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 are experiencing today.

My team are working round the clock to protect all the stakeholders 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?

On the 23rd March 2020 the UK Government restricted all movement except for essential travel (shopping for necessities, one form of exercise a day, medical needs or traveling to/from essential work).

The Government have indicated these measures will be in place for an initial period of 3 weeks. After this they will be reviewed, although there is no guarantee as to what date the measures will be lifted. It is possible that they will be extended if the Coronavirus Pandemic has not been controlled in line with their expectations.

We fully support the Government in taking these difficult decisions in the best interest of our national and global community in the fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic. We are committed to fully complying with the Governments requests and reinforcing these actions within our workforce.

Below we have set out the implications for our business and it’s 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.

Please be assured we can still help you plan and prepare for your move so that you're ready to move as soon as restrictions are lifted. We believe there may be a lot of urgent demand once this happens due to delayed moves so it’s a good idea to get ahead in your plans. We offer remote video surveys, free no obligation quotes and can arrange provisional bookings with non-binding move dates so that you're ready to move as soon as you're able to. 

wesley-bourneIf you have any concerns about what this information means for you specifically please contact us by  email info@bournesmoves.com or call us on +44 1797 228000.

Best wishes

Wesley Bourne, Managing Director

Business Response Plan

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 our Business Contingency Plans.

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 such as the CIPD and industry associations. We are working together across our organisation and supply chain to minimise the impact as best we can, although naturally we are now experiencing significant disruption that we are working to manage. 

Wherever our staff are continuing to work we are implementing strict Health and Safety procedures in line with health authority guidance including:

  • Heavily promoting handwashing (and providing facilities/equipment), covering of mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing and avoiding touching of face.
  • Practicing strict social distancing on all work sites including customer homes, and working with our customers to facilitate this.
  • Following NHS guidelines for those who become unwell or experience a new persistent cough or high temperature.
  • Increasing our workplace cleaning practices.
  • Implementing home working wherever possible.
  • 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).

Working with our supply chain

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.
  • Closely monitor and understand the continuously changing latest country updates and issues as required.

Safety guidance to 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 our crews and their own client representatives within the home. This guidance includes:

  • Avoiding physical contact including a ban on hand shaking.
  • Washing hands with soap and water on arrival at a customer’s property. Wherever possible if the customer has multiple washroom facilities available, we are asking that one is nominated as a dedicated facility for our crews, separate to the customer.
  • Wherever possible avoiding close contact by maintaining distance from customer representatives.
  • Notifying us in advance of arrival if anyone in the property is self-isolating or has any relevant travel history.

OPERATIONAL IMPACTS

Impact on Household Goods Moving Services

Physical services within the UK

As a result of the Lockdown in the UK all physical moving activities that have not yet commenced have been suspended for a period of 3 weeks following the recommendation of the British Association of Removers. The Government may extend this lock down and our suspension may then be extended accordingly, however we keep this under continuous review.

At this time we are speaking directly to any customers who are affected to make arrangements for all moves prior to 20th April 2020.

We will continue to provisionally plan for moves from the 20th April 2020 however please be aware that this is subject to change depending on Government action. Your move manager will remain in direct contact to ensure forward planning can take place as necessary.

We believe there will be high demand once restrictions are lifted and would be pleased to help you plan for your move so you're ready to go as soon as you're able to move. We can arrange:

  • Remote move consultation/survey by video, phone or online inventory
  • Free, no obligation quote and move plan
  • Non binding provisional move dates.

Get a removals quote

Physical 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 or 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 hourly 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.

Non-physical services (Sales & Customer Service)

Our teams where necessary are currently working from home to enable us to continue:

  • Customer support by phone and email
  • Management of moves that continue to operate in third country locations
  • Liaising with Corporate Accounts for situation management and planning of future needs
  • Pre-move consultations (surveys) using video, electronic online or telephone survey.
  • Pre-move planning and provisional scheduling for moves scheduled once service resumes.

Please do continue to contact us for quotes and provisional bookings as we can provide these and plan for your move remotely and adjust accordingly as the situation evolves. 

Other impacts (not location specific)

  • 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 the port of Houston close for 1 day due to a confirmed case 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 are beginning to order 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 Storage Services

Our Storage Facilities have temporarily closed in line with the government's requirements.

For moves into / out of storage please see the information above regarding impact on Household Goods moving services.

For self-storage clients we cannot currently provide access to our storage facility unless for essential requirements. If you believe your requirement is classified as urgent under the government guidelines please contact us on 01797 228000 or by email info@bournesmoves.com.

Impact on Relocation Services

In person relocation services in the UK

The movement restrictions set out by the UK government mean that we cannot currently meet with clients in person to deliver relocation services. This includes property viewings and check ins, accompanied school tours, orientation tours etc. We are working closely with our clients to find alternative solutions or implement contingency plans including conducting services remotely where possible such as video property viewings.

In person 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 or Relocation Services team are working from home to support these services and will directly communicate with their customers to confirm arrangements.

Where movement is restricted our Relocation 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 hourly and we can provide no guarantee that relocations 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.

Remote services

Our team are currently working from home and able to maintain many of our relocation services remotely including:

  • Customer support by phone and email
  • Management of relocations that continue to operate in third country locations
  • Liaising with Corporate Accounts for situation management and planning of future needs
  • Needs assessment calls and pre-relocation consultations
  • Pre-relocation planning and provisional scheduling for relocations scheduled once service resumes.
  • Desktop property searches and housing market information
  • Online property viewings (where facilitated by agents)
  • Lease reviews and negotiations
  • Utilities and service connections
  • Education consultancy and applications
  • Sourcing and booking temporary accommodation
  • Bank account set up

Please do continue to contact us for quotes and provisional bookings as we can provide these and plan for your relocations provisionally and adjust accordingly as the situation evolves. 

Other impacts (not location specific)

Our relocation clients 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

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to Email Updates