Quite apart from its health impacts, Covid-19 is dramatically re-shaping the social and economic components of our lives. Now is the time to record these changes, because when restrictions are eased and we start to get back to work, everyone will be incredibly busy. Memories will also fade, and judgements will be affected by the wisdom of hindsight.
In 50 or 100 years’ time our successors and descendants may well be very interested to know how we managed, and what things were like, just as we would like to know how (if at all) the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919/20 affected Axminster and district.
So, what we’re asking you to do is to keep an occasional diary of events and changes that you are experiencing or observing, with a view to sharing its contents with us in due course. If you do this, please remember that dates are important, because knowledge changes over time, and what may seem unusual or noteworthy today may become the norm 2 or 3 weeks (or months) from now.
We have carried out a walk-round survey within Axminster to confirm on a case-by-case basis which businesses and public service premises were working at the start of the lock-down but are now closed to the public. However, it will be much more powerful to hear from a cross-section of local businesses about the changes that they observed, experienced and recorded ‘in real time’.
- Irrespective of whether yours is a retail, manufacturing or service business, or a farm, how have things changed for you, and how do you view the prospects now (as opposed to in 6 months’ time, when you’ll have a very different perspective)? Did the Government schemes to ease the pain on businesses help your particular circumstances? Have you had to throw away products, and was that covered by insurance?
- How many full-time and part-time staff did you have before the lock-down started? (Please be as clear as possible whether your account refers to the whole business, or just to one particular department or location.) How many employees were furloughed (or made redundant)? Has the business managed to carry on trading on-line? In due course, we’d like to know how the return to something more like normal is rolled out.
- Did your business experience panic buying? Do you have any reason to think this was any more or less serious than elsewhere?
- What else about Covid-19 do you think should be remembered?
In due course, Axminster Heritage Centre would like to put together a written record of how the lock-down actually affected Axminster and district, and the more access we have to contemporary reports, the more illuminating that record will be.
If you would like to contribute to this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org