Hawick garages shut due to coronavirus fears

A Hawick garage company boss has closed down his two outlets in the town this week because of concerns over the safety of his family and workforce.

By Paul Kelly
Friday, 3rd April 2020, 9:22 am
Hawick Autocare boss Alan Grief.
Hawick Autocare boss Alan Grief.

Alan Grief owns Hawick Autocare, based at the Victoria Buildings in Victoria Road and in Mart Street, and since the arrival of coronavirus in the region he has been weighing up the pros and cons of continuing to trade.

Although deemed an essential business by the UK Government and thus able to carry on operating, he has now shut down both outlets after what he describes as “one of the toughest weeks of my life”.

It was a decision the 40-year-old did not take lightly as he is unsure how long his business can survive a prolonged closure.

Hawick Autocare's Mart Street garage.

At the end of the day, it was the safety of his family and his workforce that forced his hand, he says.

His five-year-old son Casey underwent open-heart surgery soon after he was born and his wife Joanne suffers from asthma.

Alan said he just couldn’t face the thought that by continuing to work he might be putting them at risk.

He said: “I genuinely have no idea how they will be affected by Covid-19 and it’s not a chance I am willing to take.

“My amazing staff continued to work until Friday to finish the work we had left to do, but to keep all our staff, customers, families and the wider community safe, we needed do the right thing.”

Alan, who launched his business nine years ago, is now bunkered up at home with his family, hoping the pandemic comes to an end sooner rather than later.

He said: “I discussed it with the staff and the staff were in two minds, but the diary was getting emptier and they were starting to think they needed to stay at home as well.

“My son is fine, but with his previous history, we decided to err on the side of caution.

“The last week was horrendous. It was the thought of having to shut down and the money worries, the staff worries, the family worries.

“The plan now is to stay home and it’s kind of in the hands of the government because the government is saying that the garages can still stay open but there’s a lot closing down now.

“It’s a hard one because we could be open, but are we better closing until this thing passes and see what comes out the end of it.

“You don’t know what to do for the best.

“We will wait for the three weeks to be up, but if it is still going about, I don’t want to risk my wife and son catching it.

“If we shut for a month, I wouldn’t say it would finish the business, but it would not be in very good shape.

“We have had Mart Street for two years now, and all our resources have been ploughed into that and there are no reserves anymore. It’s all been depleted.”

Anyone experiencing any issues with their vehicles can still contact Alan on 07793 767824.