FAQ: Covid-19

Please note the questions and answers in bold are new since our last update on 17th April and are up to date from 4th May:

Sr No Questions by Topic Response
Banks and Local Authorities
1 We are unable to get the business rate relief and grant as we are told we are not classed as hospitality. Our council is saying it is a government decision yet we have heard many other laundries around the UK have received the relief and grant. We are actively lobbying, latest open letter sent 15/04. 
2 Banks are not helping so as grants are not received either This should be better now, the government did issue improved guidance to them last week and feedback suggests it is better now, worth another go.
3 I would like to know if anyone is having any success with business rates, Merton council are offering no help at the moment. We are actively lobbying, new open letter sent 15/04. I am aware of only laundries in Scotland getting awarded it although we are gathering some support with MP's for England and Wales
4 Probably like yourselves, we are really disappointed that the help that was announced, we have not been able to access. Agree, but there are some signs of support is starting to materialise.
5 Need more support from government and local authorities We are actively lobbying, latest open letter sent 15/04. 
6 The banks are being most unhelpful, we applied for a covid loan and we are now 3 weeks down the line and they are still asking for future projections! how can i give future projections given the current issues!? We have seen some progress here, see the answer to question 2 above.
7 Bad debts/ slow payers and how we handle this after lockdown? We are in the process of producing guidance for payment terms for laundries hopefully in collaboration with UK Hospitality to help support your cash flow on ramp up.
8 Lobbying for business rate relief- what else can we do? We are seeing more and more laundries being considered as part of the hospitality  sector and in turn receiving the business rate relief. If you have been declined please use our TSA template hospitality grant letter to help and please let us know if you need a copy of this. 
9 The ability of Small to Medium Laundries to pay their suppliers bill’s. Suppliers generally are having to receive payments but keep communication open with your suppliers if you are struggling to pay. You may receive payment plan options to help with cash flow.
Furlough
10 I would like to start offering a FOC collection and delivery service by using staff on a volunteer basis only - which we have had legal advice today from DAS that this would be allowed within the current furlough scheme, although secondary confirmation would be useful.  This would get some of my equipment working keeping in touch with some staff and be good PR for the industry. Love the idea and would generate great PR.  Have had several member's offer this and would help with the current PPE crisis.  Will investigate how the TSA can help publicise.
11 We are concerned regarding a number of issues relating to furloughed staff and their holiday entitlements. Also should there be need to recall some of those staff before their three weeks are up to replace staff in self isolation or illness how will this be regarded by HMRC? The 3 week is a minimum period but if you needed to bring people back early then I think there is a risk you would loose the furlough benefit.  You can rotate staff on and off furlough but each furlough period must be three weeks.  Staff do accrue holiday but I have seen some furlough letters stating that any furlough accrued holiday is assumed to be taken during the furlough period - staff need to agree to this.
12 Need to get info on when the government site for claiming the furlough pay will be up and running The government have stated it will be up and running for April pay roll with the website hopefully operational from the 20th, if  not many companies will have serious cash flow issues.  
13 Concerned about bringing staff back in from furlough.  Can it be staged?  The cost of running will far out way the revenue income in the early stages of businesses coming back on line.  We also don't know what customers will survive.  Real concern about cash flow with customers holding payment now and then trying to get started again/closing. May yet be forced into redundancy. Currently reviewing business model and changes that may be forced upon us. We definitely need the CJRT to be phased and is the topic of our latest open letter, 15/04
14 Once down to a skeleton crew they will all have 28 days to take which is going to leave me very short staffed at a time where I know I won't be able to afford staff to cover this. Assume this is referring to the fact that your skeleton crew will be accruing holiday while on furlough before they come back.  Some companies have asked staff to take any accrued holiday while on furlough so they will not come back with any more holiday than when they were furloughed.  Also holiday accrued can now also be taken over a 2 year period to spread it out.
15 Having to start up once per week when all engineers are furloughed is causing some issues and workarounds are hard to put into place. Agree - this is one of the problems with the furlough scheme that staff cannot work for you.   No easy solution I afraid.
16 Is it too late to add holidays accrued while on the job retention scheme. For instance I re-hired people I layed off and will still have to lay them off but they are going to get holiday pay at the end of this as well as employer tax. You could change it going forward and if staff agree you could change it retrospectively.   If hourly paid, and your contracts states holiday is accrued per hour worked then no holiday will be being accrued.
17 Would we be as an industry be better off making staff redundant now or waiting, if we do now can save on accruing holiday costs, the negative is the social impact for these individuals and our own costs of redundancy If you think you need to restructure when we start to re-open, you may need to start thinking about it before the scheme ends and some companies are using the scheme to pay some of the notice period.  Take your own advice here as it is not totally clear.
Hospitality Grant
18 Please keep up the good lobbying work. We need clarity from the government that we are included in the hospitality help as direct services to the hospitality industry. Can they help with commercial rent rules ? Paying furlough is difficult for the volume of staff and limited cash flow. We are actively lobbying, latest open letter sent 15/04. Good point about landlords but I guess they are going to have similar concerns.  Could have an impact on a rent review though in the future.
19 Th government needs to classify hospitality laundries as part of the hospitality sector and also publish details of their plans for lifting the current restrictions even if dates cannot be provided at this stage. Totally agree. We are actively lobbying, latest open letter sent 15/04. 
20 We should be classified as hospitality services as we will only come back to fully operational once they do. Agree, we are actively lobbying, latest open letter sent 15/04. 
Insurance
21 Insurances and vehicle leasing companies aren't being at all understanding and can this be addressed Send me the details and we will certainly send an email
22 Please ask the Government to address what most companies are paying for insurance. They are avoiding paying for business interruption on technicalities and the billing and payment support needs to be now not at the end of the Insurance year. I understand the point but our research suggests the insurance companies are unlikely to change their opinion due to the enormity and scale of the potential claims.  Most policies seem to have an exclusion for similar outbreaks like SARS. Some insurance companies are reducing premiums where applicable.   If we can help with an email happy to do so.
Technical/Production
23 Does ozone kill the virus? Good question, not sure anyone will know yet, the TSA has just commissioned some research with DMU, I will see if we can get it added.  There are lots of different operational methods on how you use Ozone so it may be a more complicated question to get a straight answer. One of the practical problems was said to be the quantity of ozone generated with an ozone device depends on many variables such as air humidity, air temperature, air flow, quantity of water vs output of the generator, soil load etc just to name a few. This forms enormous challenge in determining the ozone concentration in the water. We would love to hear any thoughts on this and to see if the latest technologies have overcome any of these barriers.
24 I think the leisure and holiday market will pick up quite quickly as people will want to get out. What is going to be difficult is scaling back up eg our irons need 4 people each irrespective of volume. I am not sure its going to be that quick, lets hope so, but I think we should plan for a slow ramp up and if its quicker all the better.
25 We supply gloves for our employees, however these don't get cleaned ,or changed that often. I encourage no gloves as the driver has to wash his hands after every delivery . Who do you know washes their gloves ? . There's a lot more risk of transfer with gloves ,and ppl assume drivers got gloves and masks on . Oh so they must be clean !  However even the cleanest of drivers won't change his mask or gloves if not ripped all day ! Each company must do there own risk assessment and it’s a tricky subject of which solution works best. Also depends which sector you are operating in.  I believe most companies are offering drivers gloves to wear but will also encourage hand washing and sanitising as often as possible.  The last update had some useful links on this subject.
26 Face masks and social distancing - where does the laundry sector see this moving as companies return to work? We are in the process of producing PPE/social distancing guidance and a re-opening guide which we hope to publish in the next couple of weeks to guide on this topic.  Currently you do not need to use masks but we are aware some laundries are and we see a move towards it downstream.
27 Home washing v industrial washing - article review - what do the detergent /experts say. -update on DMU Work.  We think there is a real opportunity to permanently change the market and will continue to lobby wherever possible.
28 TSA Best Practice on PPE applications/systems for laundries that are not EN14065 We are in the process of producing an addendum which would work as a  temporary solution during COVID-19. We shall keep updated on this topic. The Addendum may enable you to add healthcare as part of your services.
Other
29 To continue pushing media coverage. Agree, its more difficult to get laundry profile raised than I thought, will keep trying.
30 The TSA are doing a fab job keeping us up to date. Thank you, the team are working incredibly hard.
31 When asking if any staff have tested positive for coronavirus, it is more the case that tests are not available. So we have staff that have almost certainly had the virus, but have not actually been tested to confirm this. I agree, we will reword the question to suspected cases. We have just had an offer of a private company offering tests for £240 per test, will circulate.
32 Something to address the goodwill requests from customers to help them keep their cashflow alive such as delayed payments, free of charge services etc. I think as an industry, most of us would resist this as we do not want to set any precedence, but obviously it’s a local business decision. I think our industry's cashflow is under much pressure as any one else's. Happy to reply to individual emails from customers if you want TSA support.
33 Using a high volume misting system – (we have 2 units in our factory used for the past 2 years as a method of cooling the working environment) to distribute a fine mist of 0.1 % sodium hypochlorite via a venturi inductor or other product that could kill the coronavirus covid-19 ? We did have a quick chat with the TSA technical community. They do not think the system would support the chlorine based disinfectant without damaging it. There may be some alternative products which we will publish if relevant. 
34 If lockdown ended this week, how long do we think it would take for hotels to sell rooms and restaurants to sell tables? It is probable that hotels will sell rooms, but their restaurants and bars will stay closed for some time. Occupancy in hotels will bounce back slowly with potential of only 50% by Christmas if re-opening starts in July. Might be later in October time. We shall find out what occupancy levels are in Europe which will provide us with an idea of what of what we can expect in the UK.
35 Offers have been made to the local government to help process scrubs but negative reactions are also being given. Where an existing agreement is in place for gowns/scrubs to be washed for hospitals there is no demand, the focus needs to be on care homes. It is a great market for smaller laundries. We are in the process of setting up a project with the government for re-usable gowns. 
36 What will my customer base look like at the end of this? Different, but lets hope not too much!
37 Interested to learn about other opportunities & revenue streams. Any bright ideas on repurposing a laundry? Please see the answer to question 28 & 35
38 Timing of reopening hospitality laundries – should we all open at same time? Probably the  big question.   We are taking advice from a specialist CMA lawyer as to how much collaboration laundries can work together on during ramp up.  But generally we will have to re-open as hotels re-open.
39 My main concern is that we need to tell the hotels now that we will not be opening when the lockdown is raised as a lot of laundries are not receiving any grants and the lock down could well be extended past June for hospitality.

If a laundry does not open up all it’s hotels will run out of linen in 4 days and there is little spare capacity in the industry.

The hospitality industry really need to be aware of this and they should be talking to Government as well as ourselves. 
We are working with UK Hospitality to produce a guidance document for hotels for best practice. It is vital hotels work together with their laundries during the re-opening phase. Ensure you work together with your hotels & restaurants when the ramp-up begins to find resolutions for both parties. 
     
Whilst the TSA have made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this document, the content is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisers. We do not represent, warrant, undertake or guarantee that the use of the information supplied within this document will lead to any particular outcome or result. We shall not be liable to you in respect of any business losses, including without limitation loss of or damage to profits, income, revenue, use, production, anticipated savings, business, contracts, commercial opportunities or goodwill.
   

 

Other resources