A Yorkshire-based pest control firm is preparing to reinstate its services following a government U-turn to include pest management as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since lockdown was enforced in the UK, Key West Pest Control has been unable to provide vital pest management and hygiene services to communities across the nation.
But following an update from the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs George Eustice that confirmed pest management is now listed as essential under the "food and necessary goods" section, the firm has been given the green light by trade body, British Pest Control Association (BPCA) to reopen.
Sean McLean, CEO at Key West Pest Control said: “We are delighted with the secretary of state’s confirmation that pest management is in fact an essential sector, but I’m disappointed that it took lobbying from the majority of the sector to achieve this confirmation.”
“We are used to the invaluable work we do going unnoticed, but many other countries recognised the importance of pest management during this crisis, so why didn’t our government?”
Unlike the USA, France, Germany and Italy, the UK government has previously refrained from confirming pest control professionals as key workers.
Recognising this, industry trade bodies British Pest Control Association (BPCA) and the European Pest Management Solutions Professionals Association (CEPA) called on pest control firms like Key West Pest Control to join them in lobbying for a review of the key worker list.
On March 30th, Sean wrote an open letter to local members of parliament in a bid to support BPCA and CEPA with their efforts.
Sean said: “When we heard that our industry trade bodies were standing up and fighting for us, we knew that we needed to stand by them and raise awareness of our crucial part in maintaining public health.
“People don’t realise that pest control is about more than treating an existing infestation, it’s about prevention of those infestations, and ensuring establishments, units, homes etc remain hygienic.
“We have a lot to offer during this unprecedented time; whether that’s keeping isolated people’s homes pest free, ensuring empty offices and warehouses are free of vermin, or keeping supermarkets in pristine condition.”
Services will resume from April 15, and all staff will be given the necessary PPE and instructed to follow social distancing measures where possible.