In an address to the UK on Sunday (10 May 2020), Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively told the construction industry to return to work following the Covid-19 lockdown.
While many construction sites have remained open, including on essential projects (such as the construction of the Covid-19 Nightingale hospital network), building sites have not remained open universally in the UK during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Therefore with the remaining construction sites opening across the UK in the coming weeks, and more merchants and trade outlets reopening in order to supply them, it does not seem unreasonable to expect the construction sector supply chain to return closer to normality.
'Home and hardware' stores have been deemed essential retailers and have been allowed to stay open throughout the UK's coronavirus shutdown - a move that other European countries have followed.
In his recent address, the PM said: “We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.
“And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.
“So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home.”
Many in the supply chain have adapted to operating during the Covid-19 lockdown. Fastener and fixing wholesaler Hexstone has extended its direct delivery service as one of its new measures during the pandemic. Having operated an "essentials" service at the start of the lockdown, major tool distributor Toolbank recently expanded its service offering as the UK moves to the next stage of the lockdown. European fastener giant REYHER adapted by offering more flexible working hours while maintaining speed of supply and reliability, while Würth Group said its multi-channel approach had paid off during the pandemic, with e-business sales jumping 27%.