A global company that played a key role in the Moon landings is continuing to operate within Birmingham’s Westside area despite the current COVID-19 restrictions.
In the first of a series entitled #WestsideStillWorking, we are acknowledging those businesses that still operating despite the new national lockdown which began on 5 November.
ZEISS Vision Care, part of the world-leading ZEISS brand, is based in Gas Street, specialising in making spectacle and other eyeglass lenses and magnifying visual devices.
The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of optical goods and boasts that every second of every day, somewhere in the world, two new people choose to wear ZEISS spectacle lenses.
ZEISS has grown from its humble beginning in a German workshop in 1846 to now employ more than 31,000 people in almost 50 countries, with global demand for products such as eyeglass and camera lenses and binoculars.
Its camera lenses even featured in the first Moon landing in 1969 as part of its involvement in the Apollo Project when more than 30,000 images were taken between 1962 and 1972.
ZEISS Vision Care continues to operate, and a spokeperson said: “During this challenging time, ZEISS are here to help and support you as best we can.
“Our technical support, ZEISS reps, account managers and customer care teams are still operating as normal and are ready to take your enquiries and support you.”
Other Westside businesses still operating during lockdown include Sainsbury’s and Spar supermarkets, Boots chemist, and the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, all on BrindleyPlace, plus the Park Regis Birmingham hotel on Broad Street.
John Angus, managing director of Park Regis Birmingham, said: “Our business is strong, as our customers rely on us for great service and to feel safe.
“We have remained open to accommodate our business guests, air crew and football teams but have had to close our restaurant, bar and spa in line with lockdown 2.
“No hospitality business will be able to say it is doing well, but we are in a good position for the future and our reputation and service standards will ensure we will benefit from any upturn in business.
“We are committed in providing our employees and guests with a safe, welcoming and clean environment and, following the latest update, we have added an appendix to our current full operational standards to ensure we are in line with the government guidance.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Shirley, director of sales and marketing at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, said: “We are pleased to be open for guests who are travelling for business or for a specific purpose, as permitted by the UK government.
“Our meeting rooms are also available to book for up to 30 delegates with social distancing in place. With our Hilton CleanStay policy it provides peace of mind from start to finish for all our guests.
“Our plans for the festive season are under way and, while some of the details are still a little uncertain, we are busy planning and listening to what the government is saying in order to make certain that this festive season is a memorable one. Some of our plans may need to change depending on the guidelines.”
Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, said: “I’m very proud of all the businesses and workers still active in Westside at this challenging time.
“We’re amazed at how many are still able to be open and working and we are determined to shine a light on all their successful operations.”
● Our #WestsideStillWorking series will take another look at businesses in the area still working next week.
By Tony Collins