Bristol Uniforms began to feel the first effects of the Coronavirus pandemic well before lockdown in the UK. We have a network of distributors supplying customers around the globe and we rely on suppliers and manufacturing contractors based in many different countries. We have weavers based in Spain, for example, and gloves are sourced from Germany. Our principal supplier of leather boots is Jolly, a specialist boot manufacturer based in the Lombardy region of Italy.
On March 8 this region went into lockdown and Jolly had to close completely. Fortunately, since we had been preparing for Brexit, we had pre-ordered a fair amount of stock from our European suppliers in the event that future trading became difficult. We were just about able to manage with existing boot stocks until their lockdown eased. Then on March 16 we were very concerned to hear that the Czech Republic, where two of our manufacturing contractors are based, was closing its borders. It was a huge relief when we received confirmation that commercial freight was able to pass through.