Engineer and Managing Principal of BRON International Carlos Palacious told Guardian Business that his companies have had to make a series of pivots because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to remain viable, while also managing the changes in the engineering industry that have arisen because of the virus.
While the emergency orders imposed by the government since March kept Palacious’ businesses from carrying out their core operations, he said the company began to look at essential service markets including food security, hydroponic farming, sanitation and cleaning and printing services.
According to Palacious, during the lockdown his companies were able to secure an exclusive contract with a distributor of sanitation and cleaning products needed to battle COVID-19.
“We had to evolve in new ways with the country and construction being shut down,” Palacious said.
He added that in response to the need for specially designed spaces for social distancing, his company has found itself with a new demand for that aspect of planning for the “new normal” in a world still threatened by COVID-19.
“Part of what we’re actually doing, too, is some of the projects we are working on, we have to do ‘corona plans,’” said Palacious.
“So obviously, for construction workers, what are the best practices? Social distancing, how do they share tools? Do you have conference rooms for meetings? And those kinds of things.
“We have actually pivoted into planning spaces in this type of environment as one of our services. We do architecture. How do we socially distance in a reception area where people are comfortable and there’s not tape on the ground everywhere?”
Palacious also foresees COVID-19 causing de-urbanization, given that many businesses have likely been convinced that their staff can work remotely and are happy doing so.
He said apart from a few executives who need a space to meet, COVID-19 has shown that Bahamians from other islands can return to their homes from New Providence while continuing to contribute to the companies they work for.
All you need is internet and to come to Nassau once a month or once a quarter,” said Palacious.
“I think it’s gong to change everyone’s expectation of what you need in order to function in life, because the world has told us that we need to be a part of this rat race and now we realize maybe we just don’t.”