Heroes on the front line: Colin Mocklow, Maryann Collis, Leslieann Henschke
While most of us are safe at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, essential workers put their lives at risk to keep Bermuda going. The Royal Gazette salutes these selfless men and women in hospitals, supermarkets, delivery vans, gas stations and other key services with our new series
A veteran security officer said his work life had undergone huge changes after the coronavirus pandemic struck,
Colin Mocklow, who works in the commercial and retail sectors for Security Associates, added that since Covid-19 restrictions were imposed last month, he had been posted at Miles Market in Hamilton to enforce shopping regulations.
Mr Mocklow, who recently came back home from Massachusetts, said: “This is all new to me — it's been a big learning experience.”
He explained he kept watch over the supermarket entrance, checked that shoppers' surnames matched their allotted shopping days and made sure only 20 people at a time were allowed in.
Mr Mocklow said no one got inside without a mask and the supermarket had banned reusable bags.
Wearing a mask and gloves and armed with hand sanitiser, he also keeps people in the queues outside at least six feet apart.
Mr Mocklow said; “Most people have been understanding.
However, he added: “You get the occasional oddball who doesn't like it.”
He said his mother and brother had spent the last month at home under strict shelter-in-place regulations. Mr Mocklow admitted close contact with members of the public — even with precautions — was an occasional worry.
He said: “If I didn't go out, there would be no income.”
He added: “I've been doing this type of work close to 40 years. I've never seen anything like this. It's a first time for all of us.”
Mr Mocklow's firm is one of the divisions of the Bermuda Security Group, which also acquired Guardsman Bermuda last September.
Richard Ian Pitcher, the vice-president of projects and business for the combined firms, said the normal need for airport security had plummeted, that businesses that needed security workers to handle cash were shuttered.
He added that about 45 staff had been laid off since scheduled flights ended on March 20.
Mr Pitcher said: “For Guardsman, our business has shrunk — we're only really supporting essential businesses.
“For each company, we're trying to support staff as much as possible.”
However, he added that security personnel still on the job were essential to keep necessary services in operation.
Mr Pitcher explained charter and cargo flights continued at the airport, where Maryann Collis, an aviation security officer, screened passengers' luggage for Bermuda Security Group.
Ms Collis said her job had been “routine until this point — right now there's almost nothing going on down there”.
She added she screened passenger departures and had dealt with “a lot of Bermudians who live in the UK and were returning”.
Ms Collis said most were “very much” appreciative.
She added: “They just want to get home to their families.”
She added she had also screened stranded British, American and Canadian citizens headed back home, some with pets in tow.
Ms Collis said: “The passengers have been quite understanding — people just want to leave. There's no one rowdy.”
She added that crews on cargo flight arrivals also had to be screened each day.
Ms Collis said maintenance of a safe distance from others could be “frustrating”, but that her children checked on her every day.
Leslieann Henschke, a cash management technician for the Guardsman division, said she handled pick-ups from the few businesses allowed to operate as essential services.
Ms Henschke said her husband and three sons worried “every day” when she set out for work.
She added that masks, gloves, social-distancing and hand sanitiser were her new norm, along with “constant” disinfection of her truck.
Ms Henschke said she was on reduced hours, but still dealt with clients every day and kept “alert, vigilant and aware of our surroundings”.
She added she had no idea how she would celebrate a return to normal life.