Structural steel company John Reid & Sons Ltd (REIDsteel), which was one of the first to shutdown its manufacturing and site operations following the Government’s implementation of the lockdown, has today announced a limited to return to work at its manufacturing facility in Christchurch.

The decision follows an extensive review of its steel handling and manufacturing procedures to find a way of helping those who cannot work from home back into full time work.

The company is also working on plans that will allow its site teams (including subcontractors) to return to construction sites.

Managing director Simon Boyd, above left, said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is our utmost priority. When the lockdown was announced, we immediately took the decision to send all our people home to stop any potential spread of the virus and to give us time to consider alternative measures.”

“As government has advised we should do, we have been working on plans to find a way to re-open the factory/works and our construction sites to allow those who cannot work from home back to work while still respecting the hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

“It is a great relief that we are able to announce that we have found a way forward to meet the requirements and re-open our factory and works in Christchurch on Monday 27 April following a three-week shutdown.

“A number of special measures will be taken, and these will be explained to our team in detail before any work commences.

“The reopening of some construction sites is happening in the wider economy and we are working on our safety plans to put forward to our contracting partners. We hope to reach agreement on these over the coming few weeks so that some, if not all the sites can reopen in early May.

“We are also working with our subcontractors and suppliers who we are helping to get back to work as soon as safe methods of work are confirmed, and they can be mobilised.”

Simon added: “My thanks to all of our people for their help and understanding during these difficult and challenging times.

“There may be further challenges ahead, but we are confident that we have put in place robust safety procedures to allow our operations to get back up to full productivity as quickly as possible.”