Oregon’s world (and my perspective) changed last Thursday
I think that like a lot of people, I was aware of what was happening in the world and specifically what was happening in Washington State, right next door to us here in Oregon. I also used to live up in the Seattle area and my wife has family that lives in Kirkland (the epicenter of Washington’s COVID-19 outbreak), so we were tuning in there. I know that many of our customers have ties to the Seattle area, other impacted areas in the Pacific Northwest and around the nation.
It was last Thursday (March 12) that I had several places to travel to around the valley and had some time in the truck to listen to the news. The big news that day was that Oregon banned groups of more than 250 people being together.
I also started to see/feel/understand the effect of what this means for everyday life for us. Over the weekend, I had some time to think through the impacts that this could have and what this means for Alyrica and the customers we serve.
I saw your post on working from home, but what if I can’t work from home?
After the last post I had talked about working from home and there were several people who pointed out that they didn’t have the ability to work from home, so what now?
That is a fair question and one we have to wrestle with as well. Alyrica (and telecommunications in general) is an interesting company; half tech, half field work.
For those on our team that work in the office, transitioning to working from home is a possibility. For the other half of the team, their work is in the field; building tower sites, drilling and pulling fiber and going into customer’s homes and businesses to get them online. What about them?
I posed this question to a few members of our team: “What if we are not allowed inside people’s houses; how do we still get them online?”
It seemed extreme on Monday morning to ask such a question; but then the day unfolded…
Monday’s conference call regarding the Department of Homeland Security, FCC and others in our industry
Our trade association WISPA in conjunction with USTELECOM had a conference call that internet providers like Alyrica was able to participate in. We heard from leaders in the telecommunications sector about our role in the COVID-19 situation we are in.
According to the Department of Homeland Security we are considered an essential service. Our leadership team determined that we need to do whatever we can to help. This means keeping the existing network strong and connecting people who do not have adequate service.
The FCC has asked ISP’s to take the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge which Alyrica is going to participate in. As an ISP, we are doing great work for the country by getting people online and keeping them online since so many people are being required to work or do school from home.
Schools that were initially given an ‘extended Spring Break’ aren’t going back to class until the end of April. I have spoken with a couple schools/districts in our footprint about how we can help at this time as the situation unfolds.
The Alyrica memo to all our staff and the steps we are taking regarding COVID-19: we are treating this like a marathon vs a sprint
Alyrica is made up of several divisions; most are smaller teams that have little to no interaction with customers directly and work independently from other teams. The two groups we were most concerned about were our office staff and our installers.
The office staff is more than 10 people at any given time and we have asked those that are able to please work from home for the time being.
For the installers we have issued guidelines for entering customer premises. A mask and gloves are to be worn while performing work inside homes and businesses for every job.
Transparency; that’s Alyrica!
March 11-29 COVID-19 Timeline
- Washington State Governor Jay Inslee bans gatherings of 250 or more in the 3 counties around the Seattle Metro as well as Seattle Public Schools to be closed for 2 weeks.
- Lebanon reports its first case of COVID-19
- Oregon Governor Kate Brown announces the closure of all schools in Oregon beginning Monday March 16 until April 1
- Gov. Brown also announced the ban on gatherings of 250 people or more throughout the state through April 8.
- Gov. Inslee announces that all schools across Washington state are to be closed from March 16 – April 24.
- Alyrica makes the move to communicate we are willing to put on masks and gloves when entering houses if customers would like us to.
- Oregon announced its first fatality due to COVID-19.
- Gov. Inslee announces that bars, restaurants and entertainment facilities are all temporarily shut down.
- President Trump announces the 15 Days to Slow the Spread which asks people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, among other things.
- Gov. Brown bans the gathering of more than 25 people in the state as well as closing all restaurants, bars, etc.
- Alyrica as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is considered an ‘Essential Service.’
- Governor Brown announces that schools across the state will continue to stay closed until April 28th.
- Alyrica rolls out the memo outlining steps we are taking for our customers and staff alike to ensure safety and peace of mind.
- Governor Brown announces the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ executive order which closes all non-essential businesses and moves all office workers to work from home if able
- Governor Brown’s executive order goes into effect.
- President Trump extends the guidelines for social distancing through April 30.