At a time where we are exposed to the hard-hitting media surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important that we recognise and encourage those that are setting out to do more. The reality is that in amongst the fear, are moments of happiness and of positivity. Moments of collaboration and altruism that make the industry and society around us proud. In light of this, we have chosen to celebrate 10 brands and businesses that have set out to step up and step in through offering positive enforcements during this difficult time.
- Pret a Manger
The international sandwich shop chain is offering up free hot drinks and discounted snacks to all NHS staff dealing with the crisis. They have also enforced takeout only cafes in efforts to support social distancing measures. As stated by CEO, Pano Christou – it is important to ‘show solidarity and stand by each other in this difficult time’.
- L’Occitane En Provence
To help in this unfortunate time of crisis, L’Occitane, high street skin care company, has supported UK NHS & Ireland HSE staff by donating thousands of hand creams to soothe their sore hands from frequent hand washing and long days of hard work.
- Supermarket Chains: Sainsburys, Lidl, Iceland, Tesco’s & M&S
One of the biggest public concerns throughout the coronavirus outbreak has been around the availability of essential food and household items. In order to ensure that there is enough produce to go around, supermarket chains including Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Iceland and Tesco have been introducing measures at their stores, including offering a dedicated ‘silver’ shopping hour for the elderly, vulnerable, NHS or social care workers, and have begun rationing the sale of certain products. M&S is similarly setting aside the first hour of the day for the elderly and vulnerable – ‘supporting our customers and our communities during this difficult time is our number one priority’.
Acknowledging the need to support small businesses during this time, Facebook has pledged a $100 million programme, aimed at backing 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries around the world. It is setting up new virtual training programmes to help business owners handle the new normal of business operations. Facebook has also made its Business Hub, a resource for Facebook employees and health experts, available to everyone to offer help, training and support from the Facebook teams.
Brewery and pub chain, Brewdog, have begun producing their own Punk Hand Sanitiser and giving it away for free to local charities and those in need.
- ExCel Center London
London’s ExCeL centre will be turned into a makeshift bed “field hospital” under NHS plans to cope with the peak of the coronavirus epidemic. The conference centre will be turned into a massive critical care unit, far bigger than any such facility already in existence in any NHS hospital.
- Chelsea Football Club
NHS staff are to be put up in a hotel owned by Chelsea FC in North-West London. Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home, or would otherwise have to make long commutes. This initiative enables the NHS to keep their services running at a time of enormous pressure.
Leon are offering 50% discounts to the hard working NHS workers, and support those who are working in hospitals near Leon restaurants with free deliveries. They are also turning some of their restaurants into mini supermarkets, and launching an e-commerce platform that allows customers to book delivery slots days in advance. This will offer quality ready meals, sauces, meats and other foods that customers can store and eat at home. John Vincent, CEO of Leon Restaurants – ‘people working in the NHS are already under immense strain and that is clearly going to continue. They deserve all the support we can give them’.
French luxury powerhouse LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Tiffany, Dom Pérignon and many other high-end brands, have adapted their business offering to accommodate these changing times; they have ventured into the hand-sanitizer sector. Their factories that usually produce perfume and make-up for brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy, are offering to expand their services in efforts to fight COVID-19.
Inditex, owner of the retail chain Zara, has announced that it will convert their factories into making hospital gowns and face masks for Coronavirus patients and healthcare officials. They are also letting the Spanish government use its factories and logistics teams to help produce further medical supplies.
As the above brands so effectively demonstrate, helpfulness comes from all angles, whether this may be giving support to NHS workers, or reaching out to protect the old and vulnerable. In the face of the crisis, it is these acts of kindness and devotion that bring the community together. As companies begin to find their pace in this new norm, we can hopefully expect to see more stepping up and adapting to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.