COVID-19 Delays & Launch Update
The good news is we will be ready to open really, really soon!
I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Years, despite the ongoing pandemic and restrictions.
First of all, I’d like to apologise for the time it’s been since the last update. It has actually been really difficult to write an update recently as everything over the last couple of months has been so changeable here in the UK. By the time I’d written anything the situation had changed again, with the worsening of the COVID situation as well as the final Brexit talks and end of the transition period, both of which affected Green House. However, the UK government finally announced the inevitable third lockdown which is unlikely to change for the next few weeks at least, so finally here’s an update for you… and it’s GOOD NEWS!!!
When the government announced Lockdown 2.0 in November, we initially thought we’d manage largely untouched by this as manufacturing was allowed to continue. However, probably due to the fact that the factories were not required to close despite soaring infection rates, there was an outbreak of COVID at one of our facilities which meant a skeleton workforce was operating for a period of several weeks as various members of staff were required to stay at home and self-isolate.
As with earlier in the pandemic, one of our factories was also required to stop production of all commercial goods and dedicate all machinery and man-power to the manufacture of PPE. With a skeleton staff and PPE production, this meant we were once again paused in action, waiting until we could pick up where we left off.
December was another chaotic month, with different ‘tiers’ of restrictions being introduced around the UK, which seemed to be changing daily, as the government procrastinated on an inevitable third lockdown. We were also nearing the finality of Brexit, with talks regarding a trade deal being extended, the outcome still uncertain until the very last minute. As we are a company that trades internationally, we would be affected by any outcome of the Brexit trade deals, and had to wait to hear the outcome of the extended talks, before we could implement the necessary changes to our business.
There was also a minor shipping crisis in the UK towards the end of December. With the discovery of a mutation of the virus, countries around the world began shutting their borders to the UK, and the majority of shipping services were suspended. When France shut its borders, over 4000 truck drivers were left stranded over Christmas, queueing at the channel tunnel, whilst a safe way for them to leave the UK was being established. There have also been severe disruptions within Royal Mail, our domestic postal service, with some packages suffering delays of over 6 weeks!
At the end of December, we finally managed to complete manufacture, packing, labelling and shipping of a large quantity of stock, which is now in the warehouse with our fulfilment partners. I had really hoped to be able to launch before Christmas, but with all the delays due to COVID and shipping suspensions it did not make sense to launch for one week and have to close again to implement all the changes necessary for Brexit, therefore I decided to wait until the new year.
In line with the new regulations when exporting goods from the UK, our prices are now displayed on our website without tax, and this will be calculated at checkout depending on your delivery address. Please see the FAQ section of our site where you can read more about shipping costs, custom fees etc.
I’m currently working on the last few bits of admin and testing to complete the integration of our online ordering and shipping service with our fulfilment partners. There’s a lot of tech and background work to get everything set up and running efficiently, but the good news is we will be ready to open really, really soon.
I don’t think there could be a worse time to be trying to get a new company launched, right in the middle of a global pandemic, but we are so close now! Thank you all for your continued support and patience. The next update should be an announcement for the long-awaited opening of the online store, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
In the mean-time, take care, stay safe, be kind, and look after each other.
- Founder/Creator of Green House Tattoo Supplies