Unless you’ve been living in a vacuum (in which case you will be immune to the matter at hand) it would be hard to miss all that is surrounding the COVID 19 coronavirus. The fall out is far-reaching and not just isolated to clinical space. Misinformation coupled with 24/7 news cycles and social media have made this the perfect storm. Doomsday preppers are buying up bottled water, hand sanitiser and toilet paper like it’s a commodity, with incidents turning violent, including assaults and in one case a knife being presented in what has been described as a communication issue. Further, there are reports of strain on supplies of PPE for health care workers due to panic buying and hoarding by companies, suppliers and the everyday public. At the initial time of writing this article, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted a 19% loss in worldwide passenger revenues which as we know has a flow-on effect on many other industries. However, now in hindsight, it appears the figure is far greater given that QANTAS has laid off over 30% of its workforce and reduced its fleet, while Virgin Australia is cutting 90% of its flights temporarily. Many industries have been hit hard, hospitability, liquor, gaming and travel industries to name a few. So how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the Security Industry and Executive Protection for our clients.
Speaking with, friend, author, travel designer, anthropologist and one of Forbes List of 25 most influential women in Travel, the esteemed Lisa Lindblad of Lisa Lindblad Travel Design states that the Luxury Travel industry has been impacted across the board with “cancellations or deferments” leaving concerns that only the “large corporate players” will remain and that the “specialists will struggle”.
Roger Hyde of the high-end luxury sustainable travel company, Dulabab Travel, believes that there will be several phases to this crisis with an end in sight for those who can weather the storm.
He suggests that the final phase will be when this crisis is on the wane, and principals once again turn to re-booking their spring/summer 2020 postponed trip or using the 2020 travel budget and embarking on a bigger trip for 2021. For companies that are happy and capable of playing the long game and with the capacity to hold out for this anticipated longer-term boost, there could be significant opportunities.
He adds, “Finally, as with SARS in the 2000s, there will be a future when the direct and indirect threat presented by COVID-19 has passed… Our business approach is to see beyond this exceptionally, challenging period and plan in good time for extraordinary journeys later this year or 2021.”
The Security Industry is not exempt from the uncertainty and volatility that is occurring with the COVID-19 virus. Venues and major sporting events have been cancelled, which have led to large scale layoffs of security guards. Corporate and office personnel are now working from home and as such corporate security officers have been sent on an indefinite leave period. Furthermore, with concerts cancelled, entertainers no longer travelling, Olympics rescheduled, families and VIPs no longer vacationing or travelling for business, Executive Protection and Close Protection companies have also been forced to rethink their modus operandi.
Secure travel has now evolved to include a greater emphasis on health and hygiene with drivers and Executive Protection personnel focussing even more on cleanliness which includes following strict handwashing regimes, cleaning vehicles with antibacterial wipes as well as donning protective equipment such as masks and respirators.
Traditional Executive Protection and Close Protection has also evolved to meet the needs of clients in this current environment of isolation to include running logistics and creating a “sanitised” and healthy ecosystem for them to wait this period out. Since its inception, Panoptic Solutions has taken a holistic approach to our client’s safety and security to incorporate a strong focus on medical and health as well as their physical security needs. For us, there is no change here, just an added layer of planning.
As with other companies and industries, within the security and risk management sector, we need to do what we often do best and that is to conduct an assessment of the situation, identify the weaknesses and find ways to mitigate them. Consider how we can best provide a safe environment for our clients. Think outside the box, it’s not all physical.
With all this social distancing it is likely clients are going to be spending more time online, as such, Client’s digital footprint will increase. Do they have a cybersecurity plan? Is this something that you can offer or partner with others who do? Direct some of the physical security protocols towards the health aspect of what we do. Identify safe areas for our clients and be diligent about what goes in. Sanitise as required, conduct thermal temperature checks at venue entrances, provide supportive measures through logistics, tailor ops and medical evacuation plans to consider COVID-19 and plan for measures to be taken if it all goes south. What medical capability will be required? Is basic first aid going to cut it, will that 2-week medical course be enough, or will the client require more advanced support such as Paramedics or Doctors? Can we offer up risk assessments or crisis management plans (pending you know how)? Each client’s risk factors will be different.
We are fighting the war on two fronts here; medical and economic. Both are devastating, many people are hurting and no doubt more pain is to come, however, for those of us who can let’s take a deep breath and try to see through the misinformation, adapt to the crisis and provide a professional solution to the problem at hand. Who knows, in the process, we may even be able to engage our security colleagues who are in need of some assistance.
Panoptic Solutions delivers tailored security and risk management services with a holistic view on health and safety. This unique approach allows us to provide you with a bespoke plan that meets your specific needs.
Our team of professionals have backgrounds within specialized law enforcement, paramedic and military services which provides unparalleled experience and ensures peace of mind.
Our services are ideal for corporate clients, events, high profile personnel, celebrity and family offices. To know more about our service offerings, give us a call or email us.