‘I’ll have no business to go back to’ - window cleaner plans return to work

Holt window cleaner owner, Jon Sibley. Picture: Archant

Holt window cleaner owner, Jon Sibley. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk window cleaner says he has no choice but return to work or risk losing his business.

Jon Sibley, the owner of Holt Window Cleaning Service, works across Norfolk. He locked his van seven weeks ago, following the government’s lockdown announcement. But he is now preparing to head back to work.

Mr Sibley said: “If I carry on staying at home then I’ll have no business to go back to.

“I’ll have to sell my van and my equipment so my family can survive.”

Despite the fact that Mr Sibley did not have to stop working, due to the fact he could not work from home, he thought it was the right thing to do. Having a mostly elderly customer base, cleaning windows internally and visiting between 15 to 20 properties on a busy day.

The family has been living off savings these past few weeks, with no income from his business. He applied for the government schemes to support the self-employed. Unfortunately, his business did not qualify, having only operated for less than a year.

Mr Sibley was told to apply for Universal Credit. Due to family circumstances where they receive some support, the family would have been worse off.

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“It felt like a kick in the teeth,” he said.

As the weeks dragged on, Mr Sibley has become increasingly worried about his future, especially as he started to receive messages from his customers.

He said: “People called me up asking me why I’m not cleaning and that other window cleaners had offered to clean their windows.

“These other window cleaners are happy to take my business. So I have to go back to protect it.”

Mr Sibley plans to return to work on May 11, which is after the next government announcement. He will not enter anyone’s properties and will be wearing gloves, masks and will take time in between jobs to clean his equipment.

After posting online that he was returning to work, Mr Sibley said that he has started to receive abuse. He said he now feels apprehensive about returning to work after the response.

He said that if there is another spike, or if he is advised otherwise, then he will not start working.