A BOSS at one of East Lancashire’s largest employers has lifted the lid on his firm’s gradual return to work during the coronavirus lockdown.

Kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturer J and J Ormerod (JJO), based in Bacup, now has a skeleton staff of 40 working in the various premises across Rossendale as orders are now able to be completed and delivered.

On Tuesday the company’s showroom Rossendale Interiors in Newchurch Road, Stacksteads, reopened but for appointments only.

Joint managing director Stephen Greenhalgh said: “JJO usually buzzes with energy and activity so it’s been eerie walking around an empty factory for eight weeks.

“I’ve had many messages from staff eager to get back to work, it’s great that staff are so keen to return. I’d also like to pay tribute to some of the staff who were first to return when we opened for collection of orders only.

“However, while the reopening of the showroom is great news, I do think there will be many bumps in the road before JJO returns fully to normal.”

Retail manager Sharon Mawdesley said: “I am glad that things are starting to move but we are conscious that we need to be really, really careful.

“Everywhere has had a deep clean and we will only be having one member of staff in the showroom and they will only be seeing clients who have booked an appointment.”

Every care was taken to ensure that customers who were having work carried out on their homes were not left with kitchens they could not use when the lockdown became imminent.

On the last Saturday before lockdown, Sharon signed up three orders and now she said the company could start processing them.

She said: “We did have a number of installations in process when lockdown happened but were able to do temporary fixes and now we will be able to return and finish the jobs off. We never left anyone without a usable kitchen.”

Rossendale Interiors will be open from 10am to 4pm and to book an appointment call 01706 252122.

Meanwhile the company has also been continuing work on Marshall House, in Victoria Way, Cloughfold, which will become a one-stop trade shop.