COVID-19: Rolling With The Punches

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Our lives have changed so rapidly that it has been hard to keep pace. A week ago (as of this writing), most major sports were still holding competitions in front of large crowds, nightclubs and restaurants were full, students were still attending classes and the streets of some major cities weren’t frozen at 7 a.m., Sunday morning.

There’s more in store, but for the moment, with urban centers locking down, borders closing, air travel virtually suspended and the stock market falling like a boulder rolled off the edge of a cliff, it’s a good time to take stock of the situation. To an extent, after a week of hourly revelations, the situation has stabilized.

The country is making the transition from dazed shock to internalization of the fact that we’re living through a historic moment. Few people alive today have ever seen anything quite like this. The COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 has happened, and it’s now all about how we react.

The measures taken by individual companies will vary greatly across the country, depending on markets and especially local government strictures. For example, as of this writing, in San Francisco, the populace has been ordered to “shelter in place,” while on the Gulf Coast where students are celebrating a now-extended spring break, life looks a lot like it did before. Pool and spa companies are experiencing everything from apparent orders to cease activities to high-season upkeep of residential and commercial pools.

Regardless of the situation on the ground, employees and customers are looking for leadership. They are looking at actions, and especially at tone. Is it confident or fearful? Is it hopeful or pessimistic? They say people are like tea bags; you find their true colors when you put them in hot water. And most small businesses in America are in hot water right now.

One day, when people think of our industry’s reaction to the COVID-19 shutdown — regardless of the outcome — will they remember a practical, solutions-based, forward-looking spirit? Or something less.

Now is the time for customers and workers to see a pool and spa industry getting on with the job with a clear-eyed recognition of the challenge at hand, but with an equally clear and evident expectation that better times are ahead — because, of course, they are.

Over the coming weeks, we will be gathering small, individual examples of companies moving forward with poise and assurance, and presenting them in this space.

Here are some of the messages sent to customers this week as the shutdown descended on our industry. While recognizing the difficult situation we face, they depict a pragmatic, workman-like approach to the COVID shutdown crisis.

 


 

Krystal Water Pools
Morgan Hill, Calif.

Krystal Water Pools has implemented a new service routine to not only keep its employees at a low risk of contamination but also to put customers at ease. The company’s service technicians are maintaining their regular schedules but have asked that homeowners and pets remain inside during their visit to lower contact. Techs have also requested that gates are unlocked prior to their visit and that customers don’t touch pool equipment in the weeks to follow. Read the company’s statement below for more details:

“We want to assure you that Krystal Water Pools and all of our employees are taking the COVID-19 virus very seriously. We want you to know what we are doing to keep you safe and to keep ourselves safe from this virus while we continue to maintain your pool.

First, we want you to know that we are at an advantage in that we work with chlorinated (and sanitized) water all day long. The National Swimming Pool Foundation and the Center for Disease Control recommend 1 to 3 parts per million of chlorine in your swimming pool water. This level will kill viruses and bacteria in 3 to 5 seconds and is the level we have always maintained in your pool each visit.

Additionally, our Pool Technicians will be doing everything they can to keep themselves bacteria and virus free during and between our service stops. We have minimal contact with other people in our work capacity and ensure we have the absolute minimal contact outside of our work as well (such as not eating in public places and using our own restrooms).

When we arrive at your house, we will honk our horns twice to let you know we are there. We ask that you do not have anybody outside while we are servicing your pool.

We also ask that you keep your pets inside during our service visit so we are not tempted to pet them. We will not knock on doors. Therefore, we ask that you make sure gates are unlocked and pets are inside or locked up on your regularly scheduled service day. We also ask that you do not touch any of your outdoor equipment and we will ensure that we leave the equipment uncontaminated by using our spray bottles of chlorine mixture to spray anything we touch. We will finish our service of your pool with a double horn honk as we leave.

For your information, a 40ppm solution of chlorine/water is equal to 1 tsp of household bleach added to 1 gallon of water. Use it in a spray bottle or on a wipe/rag and change this solution daily. This chlorinated mixture is two times the normal swimming pool shock level and is instant kill for most viruses and bacteria.

If there is anything we can do to help you, please let us know. Remember that we are always available by phone or email.

Finally, we all are aware that those with suppressed immune systems, cancer patients, the elderly, housebound or have chronic conditions are unable to get the necessary food and supplies they need due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Krystal Water Pools and South Valley Pools have joined forces with other local swimming pool companies to assist those who need help with grocery shopping and door-step delivery to their home.

If you know someone that needs assistance, please let us know how we can serve them. We have vehicles ready!

Let us all come together and serve one another during this difficult time.”


 

Richard’s Total Backyard Solutions
Houston, Texas

Richard’s Total Backyard Solutions is reassuring customers that the virus cannot be spread via pools and hot tubs. The company credits a statement from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one that assures pool owners that the virus, so long as the water is properly maintained, cannot be transferred to swimmers. The company is keeping its customers informed via Facebook:

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Patio Pleasures
Sun Prairie, Wis. 

Patio Pleasures is offering home delivery and curbside pickup to their customers who need pool or hot tub chemicals. The company says, “We are aware of the need for social distancing and the importance of staying home.” The delivery extends to customers within a 30 mile radius of either the business’ Madison or Sun Prairie, Wis., showrooms. Customers outside 30 miles are encouraged to call Patio Pleasures about shipping options. See the statement below:

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Hansen’s Pool and Spa
Kenosha, Wis.

 

Not only is Hansen’s Pool and Spa offering 10% for customers that shop online, the company has added free curbside pickup to their services, too. It continues to update customers on social media:

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Pool Patio & Spa
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Pool Patio & Spas is asking that customers experiencing any symptoms not visit its showroom, as the company wants to help prevent spreading illnesses to its employees and other clientele. See the statement below:

Pool Patio Spas

 

 


 

DesRochers Backyard Pools and Spas
Shorewood, Ill.

DesRochers Backyard Pools and Spas is supporting their employees: As schools all over the nation shut down, the company has offered employees free childcare as well as flexible schedules. In a statement from Mallory Bjekich-Wachowski, retail operations manager at DesRochers, she says:

“The DesRochers family knew that many of us would struggle to find childcare with the school being closed, so they offered all employees with children daycare, which they coordinated and paid for. We usually are able to bring our kids to the store but with this issue we knew it was in the best interest to have them away from the stores. This was so above and beyond!”

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