Business leaders from hospitality and leisure companies in the city of Portsmouth have taken up new roles at a local Covid testing facility while their businesses have been forced to close.
Terence Carvalho, general manager at Becketts Southsea and James Batney, manager of Portsmouth's D-Day Story Museum, have taken up team manager and site manager roles at the testing centre, respectively, while furloughed.
Both have been put on furlough during the time that their businesses have been unable to operate because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in England.
The duo's roles at the testing centre involve responsibility for staff welfare, ensuring the facility is running effectively each day and operating in a Covid-secure manner, and making sure that tests return accurate results.
According to Carvalho, the experience both men have had in their usual managerial roles in leisure and hospitality has allowed for an easy transition into their new positions.
He explained: “Our jobs are about giving people confidence in the great service being provided to help detect those who’ve caught coronavirus but who show no symptoms. Being able to organise groups of people and to ensure things run smoothly is key and like the industry we are from, the site operates seven days a week.
“At the test centre it’s no different and working in hospitality and leisure has given us the perfect skills to transfer into this job. Things run in a similar way and my experience really lends itself well.”
D-Day Story Museum manager, James Batney, also felt that his skillset was well-suited to his role at the testing facility.
Batney said: “I’m used to looking after lots of people at a very busy venue and this is essentially the same. It’s about making sure things run as smoothly as possible and that people are at ease, looked after and leave happy.”
Although Carvalho is relishing the reopening of Becketts Southsea on May 17 in line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, he believes he has taken well to giving back to the local community and encouraging businesses that are still in operation to get their staff tested ahead of the next key milestone in lifting social restrictions.
He said: “While I cannot wait to reopen and get back to doing what I love at Becketts, it’s been great to put my skills to the test and to give something back to the community. It feels good to be doing something positive to help with my time helping my city, rather than just sitting at home.”
Furthermore, Carvalho plans to have all Becketts staff tested at least once per week once the restaurant is allowed to resume business.
“I’d really encourage other hospitality businesses to get their staff tested regularly. It is easy to do and could potentially help to limit the spread, which will not only protect people but protect businesses too by ensuring they stay open and fully staffed. We need to be doing all we can now to prevent another wave and make sure we can stay open for good.”