Ian Russell, Optometry Partner from our Wanganui store in New Zealand, reflects on the past few weeks of lockdown and what he is looking forward to as our New Zealand stores reopen. 

“It’s hard to summarize how lockdown was. I had a range of feelings from anxiety about having a business and team to return to when lockdown eased, worry about vulnerable family catching the bug, worry about whether I could keep my team employed knowing they have families to support. Then gratitude for having an extended time with family (when else do I get seven weeks at home with my wife and kids, age 7 and 5?), and now excitement at being able to open up again. I was also grateful to have an opportunity to exercise regularly during the day instead of before or after work. I was very grateful that the measures NZ took have prevented the country from the worst of the virus.

Mostly I missed being able to do my job. I enjoy helping people see and have a better quality of life; I enjoy the interactions with patients, finding out their needs, and how I can make a difference. I miss the patients I see regularly, I miss the team, I miss the connections with the people we see daily. Not having those connections was hard.

Now with lockdown easing, I am excited that we can go back to helping our community. I know people will have eye health issues that won’t have been addressed in lockdown and I am looking forward to being able to help identify those and have them rectified. Things will be different from when we closed before lockdown but I am confident we have a team that will embrace the necessary changes to keep our staff and customers safe.”