Leading agricultural supplier Carrs Billington today thanked staff for keeping essential services open and explained how it will serve customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Carlisle-headquartered business is a lifeline for farms, rural businesses and communities with its supply of animal feeds, farm equipment and domestic fuels.
While its network of 32 Country Stores is closed for browsing and self-selection, it is operating a telephone order service with collection or delivery.
Managing Director Dr Mark Cole said: “We must thank all our staff for dealing with challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. We are one of the essential services that must keep working through this crisis.
“Our focus is staying safe and disease-free whilst keeping our customers served.”
Supplies continue to arrive daily and Dr Cole said there was no need for anyone to stockpile or panic buy.
The company has pledged to keep in weekly contact with customers to ensure they do not run short of the supplies needed to keep their own businesses running.
Dr Cole added: “Our customer-facing staff are busier than ever and we are ensuring they are supported by colleagues working from home. In these unprecedented times we are asking them all to think outside of the normal ways of working to get the job done.
“Facebook pages have been updated with additional contact numbers as our telephone lines are very busy.”
Dr Cole said orders can be booked to credit accounts or paid by card over the phone and said it was important for both delivery and collection that the current guidelines on social distancing are followed.
He said: “If you are collecting please do not leave your vehicle, sound your horn if no staff are obvious and we will come and load your goods into your vehicle.
“We would ask customers to have plans in place to minimise contact with delivery drivers and assist with hygiene measures. By working together to protect our drivers, we hope to keep them delivering during this challenging period.”
Lorry drivers have been informed about hand sanitising and personal hygiene and Carrs Billington has issued additional guidelines for deliveries:
- Place order in time
- Give clear instructions about where to put feed, fuel or a safe location for retail items to reduce the need to meet the delivery driver
- Have clear signage on bins and feed stores
- Avoid meeting with drivers unless this is necessary, and then maintain a distance of at least 2m
- Assist by providing hand wash facilities if possible
- Keep the delivery area as clean as possible so drivers and vehicles can maintain hygiene standards.
- Delivery documentation will be signed on a customer’s behalf and left – there should be no contact with the driver.
Dr Cole said staff had been buoyed by messages of support from customers on their recent Facebook posts.
He added: “We are grateful that people recognise the lengths our staff are going to keep them stocked. In situations like we are in a kind word or a smile can go a long way.”