The shop floor of the Studystore is littered with boxes and pallets, in what amounts to a large-scale relocation: “We’re packing up as many books as possible so we can send them back to our warehouse,” explains store manager Berna Erenoglu. “This way they can still be ordered online, so students can keep studying for as long as possible.” It’s a race against the clock. “We need to keep stacking. We actually wanted to round it off by 3. We haven’t made that deadline, but we will be able to close up by the end of the day.”

Besides preparing for the big move, the staff are still helping quite a few students too. They’ve dropped by at the eleventh hour to buy their books for the next block. “The Law faculty has just started on a new block, so a lot of students want to buy the key textbooks before it’s too late. We can do this in between packing – no biggie,” says Erenoglu with a smile. “But if you were unable or hesitant to come by in person: don’t worry. Our online store will stay open.”

Glued to the phone

Randstad afbellen corona
Image credit: Marko de Haan

Two sliding doors down we find the Randstad temp agency. The two members of staff who are still working on location seem glued to the phone. Most of the time, they’re calling to cancel an appointment with students, companies or other clients or to inform them about the changed situation. “And we also need to round off some administrative issues,” adds Randstad intern Frank Tang, who studies at the university of applied sciences. This morning, the entire team held an emergency meeting to determine their game plan for the next few weeks.

As a temp agency, they don’t have much work to offer during this outbreak. “Our location mainly focuses on the education sector, and the institutions have all closed up in response to the virus. So we’ve been phoning up everyone who had been scheduled in to cancel. They’re still entitled to their regular income over the next four days, but unfortunately that stops too after that.”

We ask whether Tang isn’t afraid of catching the virus himself “Catching it? No – otherwise I wouldn’t be here. What would upset me most is if I infected someone without knowing it. So starting tomorrow, we’ll all be working from home.”