A sombre anniversary

Jo Francis on a day for sombre reflection, as well as hoping for better days ahead.

On March 17 2020 I went to pay my respects at a family funeral.

It was an unusual experience to say the least, the World Health Organisation had officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic a week beforehand. Things were obviously going horribly wrong, horribly quickly. Our small group of four were the only guests staying at the local pub. 

I returned home to scenes of panic buying in the local supermarket. It was all a taste of the even greater weirdness, and terrible loss, that was to come. 

On this sombre anniversary, there is much to reflect on as we look back at the year since that first lockdown was announced. 

With the UK’s official death toll now at more than 126,000 (and 146,487 people with Covid-19 on the death certificate as one of the causes), it was inevitable that the figure would include some printing industry colleagues. And, very sadly, it does. 

Our industry community also includes Covid survivors whose lives will never be the same again. 

The full impact on businesses will of course only become clear once the government support schemes unwind, but it’s safe to say we can expect to see a new print landscape when we do emerge on the other side of this thing. 

Amid much sombre reflection, I’m also buoyed by the optimistic outlook of some print bosses, who have reshaped, reinvented and geared up for a different type of future than the one they had planned pre-pandemic. 

Hopefully we can indeed look forward to better days ahead. The vaccine rollout here in the UK has been nothing short of a triumph (thank-you, Kate Bingham). That we could have been in a situation where a vaccine was still years away does not bear thinking about. 

After a year of becoming experts at dealing with the absolute worst, now seems as good a time as any to start hoping for the best.