THE district’s businesses are used to working in an environment governed by health and safety.

But the rules and regulations which dominate the modern day workplace have increased tenfold since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Social distancing while carrying out some jobs is a logistical challenge, and working practices have changed accordingly.

Haltwhistle-based Ritemix has worked through the lockdown period, and has continued to supply concrete and other building materials across the Tyne Valley and beyond.

Owner Eddie Wannop said the restrictions have been manageable, but daily working life is different to how it was previously.

“We have a small team,” he explained, “and we’ve been able to cope with the restrictions. “The most important factor was reviewing our health and safety measures to ensure social distancing could be achieved at all times.

“We’ve reduced physical contact. Instead of signing tickets for products, we have adopted a system of good faith with our customers, while hand sanitising is essential.”

Ritemix provides materials for individuals, but also for builders and farmers, with drivers travelling as far afield as Morpeth, Kielder and Penrith.

“Our customers have been grateful that we’ve kept working through this period,” said Eddie.

“For a lot of businesses, finding supplies has not been easy. A lot of farmers and independent businesses have reached out to us, so we’re happy that we’ve been able to provide them with that they need.”

Ritemix is a familiar name in the Tyne Valley. It was established almost three decades ago by the late Malcolm Hind, of Haltwhistle, who died last year. Popular businessman Malcolm sold the businesses to Eddie back in 2018. The firm offers sand and gravel, aggregates, and ready mix mortar, as well as plant hire and groundworks.