One of the major Latvian companies, fiberglass producer Stikla Å¡Ä·iedra, plans to tighten security measures at the production site and further reduce the possibilities of contact between employees.
âWe will increase the availability of special FFP2 masks for our 1,100 employees. This is the first big step, âsaid company board member Ä¢irts VÄveris. It is not possible to stop the production process at the factory and there is a shortage of manpower.
“If there were people physically available to recruit … It is more and more difficult to find employees, there is still a need for qualification for these people that we are potentially going to [employ]”said VÄveris.
Meanwhile, Bank of Latvia economist OÄ¼egs Kasnopjorovs said Omicron’s impact on the labor market is still too early to be assessed. If companies suffer from Omicron’s rapid distribution, he said, state aid programs will come to the rescue. They have so far proven to be an effective instrument to stimulate the common economy, according to the economist.
âIt is clear that this type of virus is more contagious, but there are doubts as to whether it is more dangerous. If it is less dangerous, there will be no significant impact on the economy. But even if the distancing continues and mobility decreases, the impact on the economy will be lower than at the start of the pandemic, as Latvian companies have adapted to the situation, âsaid the economist.
Meanwhile, international analysts estimate that even a quarter of workers will soon be out of the labor market. People will be infected or will find themselves isolated as contacts. Greece reduced the quarantine period to five days, while the UK, Spain and Ireland reduced it to seven days.
Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President JÄnis EndziÅÅ¡ said discussions were also underway in Latvia regarding the possibility of reducing the quarantine time for those infected without significant symptoms of the disease.
âEvery day is very important to ensure business continuity. It’s not that at some point a job or service is not available because of the Covid crisis, âEndziÅÅ¡ said.
He said a survey of members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was conducted in late 2021 to see if entrepreneurs have made a plan to proceed if the Omicron spreads quickly. A large part of them said they did not have such a plan of action.
Experience to date has shown that, in order not to stop operations, the best solution is remote work. But in manufacturing companies, it is desirable to organize the process in teams so that human flows do not collide.
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