Dear All

Most of you will have seen the Prime Minister’s broadcast asking us all to take extra steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and therefore save lives.

This requires sacrifices by everyone, including us. Williams & Co will therefore be making drastic restrictions to services effective immediately.

Here is how those restrictions will happen:

Some of our colleagues are themselves in the higher risk categories. Many more have close family members who are at risk. Whilst we value customer service very highly indeed, we value the health of our team even higher.

I have emailed every colleague this evening and explained that they have the option to decide to stay at home from tomorrow, without any sanction from the company. Until we know how many colleagues will take this option it will be hard to work out what services we can maintain. At this moment in time, I do not know how many Williams branches will be open in the morning. I hope to be able to publish more detail early tomorrow, but I am sure you can appreciate just how complicated an exercise this will be.

However, we have already decided on the following steps:

• Service will be through a closed door, with orders taken via phone or email, and we will ask customers to wait in their vans whilst we pick the order.

• Only account and credit card sales will be permitted – we will not take cash.

• We will try to maintain a delivery service where possible, because the Prime Minister particularly recommended that method, but this will depend on the availability of staff.

• We will prioritise urgent maintenance needs – for example boiler spares – over less urgent transactions.

• All Sunday services are suspended immediately

This means that we will be delivering a standard of service which is way below our normal expectation. Deliveries tomorrow (Tuesday 24th March) are particularly likely to be erratic and for this I apologise but would ask customers not to put undue pressure on our colleagues.

We will keep everyone updated as best we can, and in the meantime we would ask all our customers to help us maintain a positive mental attitude and above all a sense of humour.

Stay healthy, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side. If we both survive this, mine’s a Jack Daniels and coke. 😊

Ray Stafford

MD, Williams & Co