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Keeping Gibraltar clean to reassure the public

As Gibraltar entered its first day of lockdown, some of the people seen most prominently on our roads were the Britannia Services street cleaning teams.

Little had changed for them from the previous day. Their routines and work had, however, already started to change as from last week when cleaners began to work towards assisting in the effort to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Across some estates, cleaners had been spraying disinfectant over walkways, bannisters, even letter boxes.

Britannia Services had now been catapulted to the frontline, with the value of the service they provided the community on a daily basis now becoming more prominent and taking on a new meaning in the eyes of many.

Explaining how things had changed, Paul Collado, one of the directors of the cleaning company, indicated that they "continued to work as normal whilst abiding by the social distancing policy."

Explaining about the fact his workers had been seen disinfecting some areas within estates, he explained how this was being done to reassure the public and not because they had been ordered to do so by Public Health.

"The Government estates we clean under contract are being disinfected,” he said.
“This measure has been introduced in these estates as most buildings house many residents.”
“Public Health has confirmed that disinfection is not required at this stage but we are doing this to help and reassure residents, particularly the elderly.”
“We are also informing the senior residents at these estates that they can leave their household rubbish at their door and we will dispose of it on their behalf."
Cast into the front line, as his workers had been from the first stages of the present public health crisis, there had been some concerns expressed initially. However, the workers have continued to show their support and continued providing the services.
"The reaction was due, in my view, to the tsunami of social media posts and misinformation during the preceding weekend,” Mr Collado said.
“Additionally they saw different measures of how to deal with the virus in different countries which also brings about concerns and some found it hard to assimilate and allowed panic to get the better of them.”

“There was a video apologising to Gibraltar from these employees just a day later."

Mr Collado further added that "every employee that is fit and healthy is working and conscious of his duty for Gibraltar and its people."

Asked if he envisaged any disruptions to normal service or whether there would be any additional services added to their tasks, Mr Collado was reluctant to go into detail.

"I would not wish to speculate on this,” he said.

“Britannia will follow instructions from the Department of Environment and adopt and adapt our procedures to whatever instructions we receive from professionals and officials who know what they are doing, have our respect, admiration and gratitude for the work they do."

Commenting on the first day of lockdown, with fewer people and vehicles on the roads, Mr Collado commented that there had been a decrease in litter "but we still need to sweep and revise all operational routes.”

“Accumulations, bin rooms, recycling, changing of litter bins etc. are still steady and constant,” he said.

“All flushing schedules continue as normal and if vehicles are understandingly not moved then we do our best to clean around it."

Mr Collado asked that the public follow the advice from Public Health and officials in authority, "stay at home and support those who at these unprecedented times need to continue to work for the greater good."

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