April 15, 2020
ELG Electric is an electrical contractor based out of Goderich, Ontario serving the area’s residential, agricultural and commercial industries.
Obviously, we’re living and working in an unprecedented time with the current pandemic, raising new challenges for contractors who still have to enter job sites and people’s homes to provide an essential service.
To gain some insight into how electrical contractors have adjusted their operations to meet physical distancing guidelines, EIN reached out to Lance Giesbrecht, co-owner of ELG Electric with his wife Melanie.
ELG has had to lay off their employees because of reduced operations during the pandemic. Giesbrecht is only going out on emergency service calls, himself, not taking on any new work in compliance with the government rules surrounding essential business services.
Going out on calls means wearing gloves, a mask and maintaining appropriate physical distancing for Giesbrecht. As well as, showering when returning home. It is important to maintain a high-level of hygiene for your own safety as well as the safety of cleints.
Below Giesbrecht discusses his company’s status during the pandemic.
What do your current operations look like? Have you had to lay off workers? Essentially, what are you dealing with as an electrical contractor with the pandemic?
At this time, due to the COVID 19 situation, ELG Electric Ltd has made the decision to lay off all of its employees. Myself and my wife, have made the personal decision to self isolate as much as possible, and plan our service response around our new rules of operation.
To date we are still receiving frequent service calls regarding necessity items in residential, agricultural and some commercial properties.
How has your approach on the job changed? With respect to physical distancing and working safe from a health perspective.
We have taken steps to ensure both our safety, our families’ safety, and our clients. As I am the only on-call electrician (within ELG) at this time, I have increased hygiene practices by wearing gloves and face mask onsite and washing my hands and showering when returning home from calls.
We have laid out strict guidelines to our customers regarding social distancing and minimal contact. We understand it is an inconvenience but believe it is best for everyone. We have ceased all new construction, and all nonessential work. These rules have been in place since March 16th when the Prime Minister made his public address to the country regarding the risk of COVID 19.
From your perspective, what has the impact been on your local industry?
Locally here in Goderich, Ontario, it sounds like most in the electrical industry have stood down, with minimal operations. I feel as a small community here we have had a great approach and mind set knowing that this may be inconvenient now, but it’s best for all of us if we want to get back to business as usual this year.
Have you taken advantage of any of the recently announced government relief or wage subsidy programs?
We have not taken advantage of any of the government incentives or subsidies, at this point we are thankful that we may not need to. Being able to complete emergency service calls is still generating an income for our business and covering our wages as a family.
Do you have any ‘feel good’ stories that have resulted in response to the pandemic, in your local industry or community?
In our community there have been dozens, if not more, gestures on social media offering financial assistance from person to person, offers of delivery and pick up of essentials and even offering those who have suffered hardship due to the pandemic food for families, no questions asked, no judgement. I believe that Goderich, Ontario is a wonderful place to live and the best community to be a part of. Me and my wife are raising our three daughters here because of this fact.
I want to give a shout out to a group of people that I have seen online from our area, making and delivering supplies to front line workers, Knotty Girls out of Clinton, Ontario. This is a group of volunteers helping out anyway that they can! That is impressive in my eyes.
Anything else you would like to add?
From our personal family and our work family, we are extending our most sincere condolences to any and all affected by the virus. We wish all those who have contracted it a speedy recovery, and to those who have been able to avoid it, PLEASE, take steps or keep taking steps to avoid it, continue social distancing measures, if not for yourself, for your family, your neighbours, and your community. Stay strong and be kind!