Essential Protective Equipment now VAT Free

The Coronavirus has almost instantaneously changed the way we live and ended the lives of over 200,000 people worldwide. With around 6000 deaths per day, the UK alarmingly accounts for 10% of the casualties.

As casualty rates gradually begin to decline, soon the people of the UK will begin to come out of isolation and return to work. To try to recover what’s left of the economy and get back to normal.

Sadly, the Coronavirus is now something we must get used to living with as a society.

Should we blame the government for not taking it more seriously, much sooner? Should we blame China for manifesting it and not being more forthcoming about the data?

Blame isn’t going to stop the virus from spreading and waiting for the UK Government to make a decision about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) could cost you your life.

Although the UK government has now made PPE exempt from VAT from the 1st May to the 31st July, it’s still not officially recommending that you use it or making it mandatory. Common sense may suggest this will come but do ‘the people’ need a law to tell them how to stay safe?

On the 28th April the Scottish Government announced that it was recommending that its people wear protective face masks in public places. Slovakia and the Czech Republic have made it illegal to leave home without wearing a mask. A helpful video about this can be viewed below:

With conflicting information about the subject of face mask use, what should you do?

The more I’m researching this interesting topic, the more I’m discovering how important face masks can be. Maybe the UK are not making them mandatory because we don’t have enough to go around?

The World Health Organisation has stated that face masks should only be used for those who already have the virus. The document can be viewed here.

According to the WHO, only people who have the virus should wear a mask but you might not know if you’ve got it. Should we not equally prioritise the protection of healthy people from catching it? Preventing the spread will not only reduce the strain on the NHS but save lives.

With an incubation period of 5-6 days, and in some cases as long as 14 days, you might have contracted the virus and be unknowingly spreading it yourself. This is known as the “pre-symptomatic” period; which is when you’re spreading the virus to everyone you touch or breath on.

This is surly what happened in the early days of COVID-19 and one of the main reasons we’re in a lock-down situation.

The COVID-19 virus spreads through droplets in the air, coughing, spit talking and contact. It makes perfect sense to most people that masks provide an added layer of protection against contracting and spreading the virus.

The use of hand sanitiser is also recommended. You might touch a surface, object or person with the virus but be able to wash it off your hands before it contaminates your immune system.

In the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, I recall it was the Premier League who took the decision to cancel football matches, not the Government. The UK lock-down started on the 23rd March, but just 12 days earlier on the 11th March, the Champions League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid was allowed to take place; this was 2 days before the Premier League’s decision to cancel the football fixtures.

This allowed around 3000 Atletico Madrid fans to travel to the game (many wearing face masks) from Spain. They were allowed to freely enter the island nation that is the UK; unchecked and un-tested. This was at the exact time when gatherings of more than 1000 people were banned in Madrid; meaning if this would have been a home game in Madrid, it would have been cancelled. The UK didn’t act fast enough which has cost lives.

My main point here is to think for yourself and decide whether the cost of a face mask outweighs the risk of infection. Or you can make them yourself if you’ve got the material and spare time.

Like many other businesses we’ve decided to diversify during these difficult times. Our distribution centre and supply chains have experienced a major reduction in order volume, meaning we’re able to meet the needs of this growing demand.

Factories around the world are switching production from lighting and electrical equipment to PPE because consumers are now focusing on survival. While we try to maintain competitive prices within the marketplace and offer value to our customers, we also need to keep up with demand; pay staff and fund our logistical costs.

From the 1st May to the 31st July, PPE has become VAT free, this shows the government’s commitment to helping consumers get hold of protective equipment without taking their cut. Apparently, this doesn’t include hand sanitising gel; but thanks for the saving, we appreciate any help we can get.

After careful consideration we’ve made the business decision to relaunch our PPE range. With lower prices, passing on the factory rates we’ve managed to negotiate for the higher volumes of stock we’ve sourced. Our first venture into PPE mask sales caused some controversy with some negative feedback from some of our customer base; but we’ve listened to your valid concerns and believe we’ve found a solution that helps everyone including our business, our customers and the NHS.

NHS Donation

As an SME (Small to Medium Size Enterprise), we can only do so much to support the world’s largest employer; the NHS. We will be donating 10% of our sales to the NHS. Although we’d like to offer more, we have a business to run which needs to recover during these unprecedented and unpredictable times.

By feeding into the supply chain, we can bring in more PPE into the country. We aren’t taking away from an NHS stockpile that’s sitting around in a huge warehouse in China. We’re paying factories to produce more face masks and PPE as they diversify their production.

At these low prices, I don’t believe we’ll be able to keep up with demand but we’ll continue to re-stock as fast as we can, so that anyone who wants to purchase a protective face mask has the option to get one in a convenient and affordable way.

We have two types of face masks available:

  • The economy grade 3 PLY  mask which has 3 layers of protection and offers basic one way protection – This design blocks outoing germs from spreading but doesn’t necessarily provide protection against incoming germs and particles. Available in packs of 50s – our price works out at £1.04 each.
  • The KN95 FFP2 grade mask (shown below) offers two way protection, blocking over 95% of particles from outgoing and incoming particles – The KN95 is a more durable style of face mask. Priced at £4.50 on our 10 rate and £4.05 each for our 50 rate.

I welcome any feedback or suggestions about this article & products and appreciate your opinions regarding this sensitive and ever-changing matter.

Chris Horridge

[email protected]

Marketing Director

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Chris

Marketing and technical director for Expert Electrical Supplies and Downlights Direct. My main interests include travel, football and watching DVDs. https://www.google.com/+ChrisHorridge

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