COVID-19 Update: Initial Plans Being Put in Place for Phased Return Dependant on Government Advice

Conversations begin on the phased return of Clayton Glass, and the fenestration industry as a whole, depending on how government advice evolves over the next couple of weeks.

Weekly update: 24th April 2020

4 weeks into our closure the picture continues to evolve. I hope you and your families remain well. It’s an unfortunate, but realistic probability, that with a workforce so large, and many customers and suppliers beyond that, the Clayton family will likely be affected in some shape or form. Our heartfelt sympathies and thoughts therefore go out to everyone dealing with this illness up close.

Without a doubt we are past the peak of deaths from the virus, and indeed this suggests that, thanks to voluntary social distancing, the peak of infections was actually before the enforced lockdown commenced. Regardless, we are still very much in ‘lockdown’, and whilst this is perhaps with an increasing amount of focus on retuning to normality, it is of course tempered by the need to avoid a second wave of infection.

Our plans remain aligned with following the government’s advice, but additionally we are starting to make preparations for a gradual and phased return to normality within our industry. To this end, the second of our web forums was held on Monday of this week, and with participation up by 60% at around 50 participants this time, it’s really shaping up to becoming the one place, industry-wide, where a coordinated response is being thought out.

You can find more information on that here:

Stephen also made some notes of the meeting and you can find them here:

Current thinking from most parties is similar, in that we expect to get back to some kind of operations towards the middle of May. The issue here however, is that whilst we are loss making while closed, we would be even more so if open but significantly under trading, so we do need to get this balance right. On the other hand, we do however need to start somewhere, and as and when this is, we expect a very gradual and staged return of our commercial and operational activities, in line with what we expect to see as a slowly increasing sales line.

Suffice to say we are eventually going to come back to a very different world. We are already exploring the use of additional PPE at work and where required continue to observe social distancing practices in the factories. It will be an evolving process where we will follow government advice, and as with all things health and safety, the responsibility of the individual to observe best practice is key.

In terms of what, when and how, the limited conversations so far could see a small crew going back to Harelaw initially and then slowly build up volumes and sales, opening up our other three sites as we go. Like I have said though, this is by no means set in stone, and we would only consider this when it is safe to do so, and when there is clear guidance from the Government. As we said at the outset, dependent on your location, role and skillset, everyone will likely be requested and required to return at a different point in time, with I imagine some considerable variations.

As we move closer to this position, we will of course keep everyone informed.

Talking of communication, we’re exploring the use of Zoom or similar, so that any employee whilst furloughed is able to have a face to face chat with the Directors and management if they want to get involved. If anyone has any interest in doing this, drop me a line back and we’ll see if we can set up a weekly ‘clinic’ where we can all share our thoughts and concerns, all you need is a mobile phone.

Customers of course can pick up the phone at any time, for a one to one call or video chat, again our contact details can be found on our website.

Hopefully in the coming weeks we will see more light at the end of the tunnel and although it will be a very long time before we’re 100% back to normal, I hope the bigger parts of our lives – seeing family, friends, work and play can return before too long.

Best wishes,



Tags: ,