“We have quite a few jobs lined up, particularly with regard to roads and streets. As far as that’s concerned, the virus is not having any impact on me whatsoever,” says Stolk, who is from Krimpen. “I’m glad we didn’t have to cancel our work here on the campus, because if we had cancelled it, our entire schedule would have been messed up. We’re on a tight schedule, and we’re fully booked for the next few months. If we hadn’t been able to come here today, I would have had to reschedule for later. It would have been quite a challenge.”

And anyhow, they don’t have much of a choice, Stolk explains while resting his foot on his shovel. “The street we’re currently working on is vital for fire safety purposes. If a fire should erupt – and these things do happen, even when there’s a coronavirus outbreak – emergency response crews must be able to reach the buildings in this street quickly and easily. That’s why we have to complete this job as soon as possible. We hope to be done next week. For now we’re complying properly with the rules – five feet distance and proper hand-washing. And if any of us get a cold, I’ll send them home.”

Inconvenienced twice

A loader carrying a large number of pallets containing clinker bricks and floor tiles drives off at a considerable speed. There are certain advantages to the fact that the campus is empty. “And we’re actually able to get through everything quickly, as well,” says Stolk. “Since there are no students or members of staff around, we can work faster and don’t have to deal with hazardous situations. Students have a bit of a tendency to get annoyed or walk through areas that have been cordoned off.”

Is the virus affecting them in any way at all? “Yes, I don’t get to have a pint at the pub after finishing for the day, but that’s all. So that’s not bad at all. And we all feel perfectly fine,” says Stolk, completely down to earth. He is not at all afraid of the virus. “If you’re afraid now, even though you haven’t actually contracted the virus yet, it will inconvenience you twice. I’ll save the fear for once I’ve come down with the virus.”