Wisbech car firm set to temporarily close over Covid-19 after 'business associate' and former Wisbech man contracts virus
A Wisbech car company has announced it will temporarily be closing from tea-time on Wednesday in a bid to keep staff and customers safe during the current coronavirus outbreak.
Managing director Gary Robinson said the decision was partly prompted by news that a business associate and friend, Ryan Van Waterschoot, had contracted Covid-19 and was hospitalised last week as a result.
Ryan, a former Wisbech cricketer who now lives in Peterborough, posted news of his infection via Facebook and warned people of the dangers of failing to abide by the social distancing rule.
He said: "This is me last week, a healthy 28-year-old no prior medical issues in hospital fighting corona virus leading to pneumonia and sepsis. Luckily, this weekend I was discharged and allowed to return home to begin recovery. It really can happen to anybody, please don’t be selfish. Please stay at home."
Gary, who runs Paragon Motors in Lynn Road, with his wife Sue, explained his decision in a YouTube video.
He told the Citizen: "I purposely stayed home all weekend, and when I drove to work this morning (Monday) it was playing on my mind, so when I got to work I got everyone together and told them about my decision. I hadn't even discussed it with Sue, but I felt it was the right thing to do for everyone. The delay is to allow us to prepare for the closure, to get work finished for customers like MOTs. We will support people as much as we can."
He now hopes other local businesses will follow Paragon's lead and close down for the short-term to allow staff to stay safely at home.
In the video he said: "This decision has not been taken lightly but, in the absence of clear guidance for our industry from the government, has been made to safeguard the health of many people these include not only my own family but everyone in the broader Paragon family, customers, suppliers and in some small part the health of the nation.
"As a business it's recently been touched close to home with a business associate friend in his late 20s almost becoming victim of coronavirus with no underlying health issues.
"I also hope this message will potentially start a chain reaction with business owners large and small doing the right thing at this time to allow staff where possible to stay at home and bring this terrible virus under control.
"I would like to finish by stating my commitment to reopen Paragon Motors as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. Stay safe everyone and thank-you for your continued support."
More by this authorSarah Cliss