Rowex Ltd. has been in Bantry since 1993, having been established as the Irish marketing division of Rowa Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Just like every other business in West Cork and across the country, Rowex Ltd. has had to adapt and change with the times during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Over the last couple of years, we have seen things like red level weather warnings, which were something that were new to us, but we knew when they would start and knew when they would end. They had a time limit and we were able to adapt our business in accordance with that,’ says Joe Keane, General Manager of Rowex Ltd.
‘Now with Covid-19, we have once again come up against something unknown, but this time there is no end date in sight. It is almost like we are having to deal with something invisible.’
Like many other companies, Rowex Ltd. has had to implement measures and changes to business practice to ensure that it could keep operating, because it fell under the essential service list. This certainly has not been without its challenges.
‘Due to our rural location, the broadband isn’t the best so there wasn’t an option for everyone to work from home. Also, we are a manufacturing and packaging company, so we needed some people onsite. We worked closely with our staff to come up with the necessary changes,’ says Joe.
They worked to identify anyone in the ‘at-risk’ group, anyone with an underlying condition or anyone living with a healthcare worker and prioritised them working from home. They implemented split shifts, split breaktimes and ensured everyone could follow social distancing guidelines onsite.
‘The staff worked really hard to make sure all of this would work,’ adds Joe.
Not only is Rowex Ltd. doing all that it can to protect its staff, it has also started helping the community by supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) to local hospitals.
‘Due to the nature of our work, we use PPE onsite. Local hospitals such as Cork University Hospital and Mallow General Hospital contacted us to see if we had any spare PPE and we gave out what we could. We have also ordered extra equipment which we will also give out when it arrives.’
As well as providing PPE, they ordered 220 litres of hand sanitizer, bottled it onsite and gave it out for free to the local hospitals.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a whole new learning curve for Rowex Ltd., and while the future does look uncertain for many businesses, they plan to continue to do everything they can to help their staff and the local community.