Information from regional chambers and incorporated associations
Regional Chambers of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District
The Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District registers requests, suggestions and topics from business people and companies from the region. All of those are summarized in this document. “Let’s not let the coronavirus long-lastingly damage the long-established Czech economy, the traditional industry and consequently also the development of the region, the Czech Republic and the living conditions of our co-citizens. Many companies are already on the edge of their bare existence. This, however, is not a result of their unpreparedness or instability but rather of purely objective factors and directly of the precautions taken with regards to the emergency state,” says Mr. Radim Kašpar, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District.
On April 4th, 2020, the Hanácký večerník published an extensive interview with the director Radim Kašpar. The director does, in the interview, answer questions as what do the companies need the most in the current situation, who should help them or how the Chamber itself helps in these times of crisis.
The Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District did, together with the town, launch a project Olomouc Helps Itself. Together they created a space for presentation of restaurants and cafés, shops and services, sport, culture and entertainment offers in the time when their operations have to be closed or limited. The Olomouc inhabitants can show they care about their favourite shops, cafés or for example theatres. Both the town and the Transportation Company did, as a support of this campaign, provide its advertising space for free. More information is to be found here.
Chamber of Commerce of Prague 1
The Vice Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Prague 1, Mr. Filip Dvořák, prepared a contribution to the combined debate of the Municipality of the City of Prague meeting on April 16th, 2020. The full text is available here.
The Chamber of Commerce of Prague 1 became a partner of the UniHack: Innovate Czechia project which takes place from Friday, May 1st, to Sunday, May 3rd, 2020, on-line. The aim of this project is to come up with quickly implementable ideas that will help to breathe life into the companies, organisations and places on which the pandemic did put face masks. More information is to be found here.
Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Central Bohemia
The Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Central Bohemia did, starting from April 16th, 2020, occupy itself with the following activities related to the coronavirus pandemics. The summarizing document was prepared on April 15th, 2020.
Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Pardubice Region
The Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Pardubice Region in cooperation with the Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Hradec Králové Region did, on April 9th, 2020, sent out the so called “Hradubický” Easter Challenge to the mayors of all municipalities and towns of both regions, to the biggest employers in the area and also to all its members. The call appeals on not postponing, limiting or cancelling the planned investment activities.
South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce
Only 7% of respondents of the survey among the member companies of the Czech Chamber of Commerce mentioned, for now, they had to come to layoffs. “Some companies start to show interest for a temporary provision of free capacities – of employees and machines same as premises to another company. The reason is, they themselves would have offered or lent those capacities. We will see, how the companies will make use of this possibility. It definitely does not concern all, however, I think it is a big help both to companies that are dealing with work orders shortages and, on the other hand, to companies that do not have employees or premises,” stated Mr. Luděk Keist, the Director of the South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce. More is to be found in the press release.
The director Luděk Keist also gave an interview to the server idnes.cz in which he provides comments on the current situation. The whole interview of April 1st, 2020, is available here.
The Třeboň companies decided to react to the current situation at schools. In fact, they lack the needed technical equipment and many pupils, therefore, have problems with the on-line education. In cooperation with the South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce the Třeboň companies did in not even five days secure and present thirteen laptops to two elementary schools and one multi-annual grammar school. More is to be found in the press release from April 17th, 2020.
The current state confirms that some companies, and that mainly the smaller ones, are able to, even considering the difficult situation, adapt to the exceptional circumstances. They are adjusting their offer and broadening their product portfolio. It is necessary to support such companies in their development. Currently, there are several programs that can aid the companies for example in implementation of new innovation or sharing their findings and know-how in the research sphere. More is to be found in the press release from April 21st, 2020.
Associations incorporated in the Czech Chamber of Commerce
Based on the suggestions we have obtained from our incorporated associations to April 1st, 2020, we have created a table in which we not only gather those suggestions but also, at the same time, monitor their fulfilment. The table will be continuously updated based on the feedback from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.
There are currently staying mostly small numbers of people in agencies, if even that. Except for one case, the agencies are fitted out with protective equipment. An estimated income decrease varies from case to case. The majority states it is between 30 to 50%, however, in individual cases it is as much as three quarters of income and more. Depending on the size and specialization of the agency, it can mean losses of millions or smaller tens of millions of Czech crowns. Nonetheless, when it comes to the big agencies which did not affect the survey results, it can mean a loss from tens to hundreds of millions of Czech crowns. Unfortunately, the total trade decrease is currently very hard to predict.
On April 8th, 2020, the Association joined with other subjects to the call on the Government of the Czech Republic in the Announcement of the Communication Industry. The Announcement was also supported by those incorporated associations of the Czech Chamber of Commerce: the Association of Communication Agencies, the Association of Direct Marketing, E-Commerce and Mail Order, the Audiovisual Producers’ Association, the Public Relations Association and the Confederation of the Outdoor Advertising Operators.
Quarantine measures against the COVID-19 cause an increase of telephone calls. Overloaded private and state capacities are being overtaken by external call centres. Most often, they are focusing on helping the emergency or information lines. The survey among both the member and non-member call centres of the Association of Direct Marketing, E-Commerce and Mail Order implies that the majority of those are increasing their capacities up to 100%. Approximately 90% of operators are working from home by the means of home office. The delivery services are dealing with an increase of up to 500%, while the line 1188 registers 400% more calls.
The innovative pharmaceutical companies are exerting their maximum effort in a fight against the current coronavirus epidemic. Their activities are focused mainly, however, not limited to, on research and development of the antivirals and vaccines, on treatment and diagnostic methods. “Currently, there are around 30 antiviral medications in different stages of development,” informs Mr. Jakub Dvořáček, the Executive Director of the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry.
The Association of Laundry and Drycleaners brings a summary of useful information for the affected businesses. It also prepared an open letter to the Prime Minister Andrej Babiš with a demand to add the laundry services to the critical infrastructure.
In the article here you can read how the small laundries and drycleaners are trying to deal with the crisis.
Also the Association of Manufacturers and Suppliers of Medical Devices is trying to, via its membership, help in backing-up the measures against the coronavirus spread. The Association is, simultaneously, discussing a possibility of suppling the scarce respirators of FFP3 type from abroad and, therefore, help in stocking-up of hospitals and other users of these so demanded goods.
The Association of Petrol Stations presents several topics in a summarizing document dedicated to the coronavirus.
The Audiovisual Producers’ Association publishes news for their members via a web newsletter. At the same time, the Association prepared a material Audiovision vs COVID-19 which summarizes the current Czech audiovisual industry situation. This industry is one of the strongest creative industries in Czechia, however, it is, unfortunately, together with tourism and gastronomy one of the fields affected the most by COVID-19. In March, the cinemas closed, the movies ceased to be made and the whole sector has halted. The Association, therefore, offers its help when it comes to dealing with the crisis impacts and the whole industry restart.
Automotive Industry Association + 5 demands of the automotive industry to deal with the COVID-19 consequences
The Automotive Industry Association appreciates the approach of the Government of the Czech Republic and the significant advance in the approved measures fighting the consequences of the coronavirus pandemics. The final version of the so called kurzarbeit accommodates the rational demands of employers and business people, while not only for the companies in automotive industry is this aid essential for jobs preservation. In order for this situation, which requires such measures, to be as short as possible, the Automotive Industry Association is prepared to continue negotiating the measures supporting the starting-up of the sector and the economy as a whole. More information is available here.
In March, the car production dramatically decreased, considering that in comparison to the last year there were 47,452 less cars produced (i.e., -36,2%). Therefore, after the production increase in January and February, the coronavirus pandemic caused a major disruption of an otherwise very promising beginning of this year. Almost 90% of companies in this sector were forced to stop or reduce their production. The companies of automotive industry highlight that without an adoption of fast and robust measures for a production and market restart it is not possible to expect a return to the normal operation in the foreseeable future and the situation will, therefore, not get better. More is to be found in the press release.
The Confederation of Chemical Industry of the Czech Republic prepared a request to consider a support of key sectors, among which there are enterprises with continuous operations. The list of key sectors can be found here.
Pubs, restaurants, breweries and mini-breweries do, after two weeks of the emergency precautions that closed the restaurant facilities being in force, count their damages and with concern await the further development. The sales of medium and big breweries decreased on average by 40%, the mini-breweries and smaller breweries dependent upon selling draft beer then loose up to 80% more. 90% of pubs and restaurants are out of order, the rest is trying to keep at least partial operations by selling across the street. Breweries of all sizes are then dealing with the question what to do with the hundreds of millions of draft beers to prevent their pouring out. More is to be found in the press release.
Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants + frequently asked questions + analysis of the impacts on the tourism sector
The Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants consulted the decree of the Government of the Czech Republic from March 16th, 2020, related to providing accommodation services. Based on it the Association prepared a document containing the most frequently asked questions and answers to them, in order to make the communication with the business people in the tourism sector more effective. At the same time, the Association presented an analysis of model impacts on the tourism sector of the Czech Republic resulting from the world pandemics of coronavirus.
The Czech Association of Interim Management prepared a comprehensive guide called the Crisis Management of Enterprises and the Coronavirus.
The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism presents on its website the news for the affected enterprises and that including the press releases and letters addressed to the State institutions. In cooperation with the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic, the Tourism Forum of the Czech Republic and the Czech Healing Spa Association, it prepared to the date of April 8th, 2020, the Rescue Plan for Tourism. All the mentioned parties do together call on the Government to finally seriously start to deal with the real impacts of the proposals which have been presented with regards to the rescue of the tourism sector in the Czech Republic. More information is to be found in the press release.
Mr. Radek Roušar, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the President of the Czech Electrotechnical Confederation issued a call in which he appeals on the Government and the Self-Government of the Czech Republic to make meaningful use of the current situation where there are, on one side, empty buildings of schools, kindergartens, nurseries and offices and, on another side, there are free capacities when it comes to the self-employed craftsmen and small companies that could in small groups provide maintenance, repairs or even improvements of the current standard.
Fitness centres are counting their losses, while for many of them their closure on Friday, March 13th, 2020, caused by the emergency state announced by the Government of the Czech Republic with regards to the coronavirus COVID-19 infection, will be critical. However, exercise is one of the factors that strengthen the immune system. The Czech Fitness Chamber recommends to engage in the effort to decrease the infection spread and to figure out the possibilities how to let the people have their exercise even in this current hard situation. More information is in the press release here.
At the same time, the Czech Fitness Chamber prepared on April 7th, 2020 the Declaration OF NOT ONLY the fitness sector. The Chamber sees this crisis as an opportunity to point out the fatal consequences of the lack of physical activities in our daily lives. In the meantime, the Chamber wants to offer the capacity and services of the fitness centres, clubs, trainers and instructors for a long-term change which seems to be essential – not only due to the coronavirus but also from the point of view of the lasting sustainability of the healthcare system in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Fitness Chamber updated its Manual for fitness centres opening from Monday, May 11th, 2020. More information is to be found on the Chamber’s website.
The Czech Furniture Association demands to target the further Government precautions in such a way that would, after the cancellation of the precautions, enable as soon as possible a restart of the economy. In the meantime, the Association supports the proposals of measures pushed forward by the Czech Chamber of Commerce. The costs of the Czech Furniture Association members are constituted from 21% by personal costs (CZK 1.7 billion annually) and from 70% by power consumption. The power consumption is limited by the production suspension, however, the personal costs remain. Those will be spent even in the case of redundancies and that for at least another 5 months.
On April 7th, 2020, the Association has published a press release in which it requires the same conditions for business people as in Germany.
A snap survey among its members unequivocally implies to the Association that the Czech furniture makers are able to guarantee both their employees and customers the same level of security when it comes to the COVID-19 disease as the car showrooms which will open on April 20th, 2020. The Association stated this in the press release of April 16th, 2020.
When it comes to food companies, there are usually three-shifts operations for 6.5 days in a week, lots of workers are staying at work for 12 to 14 hours, companies are, while abiding all the hygienic and safety conditions, setting up at their premises rooms where the employees’ children can stay during the day. All that is being done for one purpose only – to make sure the shop counters are continually stocked and the consumers are getting all the food products but also the fruits, vegetables and meat of such assortment to which they are used to. The Federation of Food and Drink Industries of the Czech Republic is every day in contact with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic that is doing its best to secure for food producers and farmers at least the most essential disinfection and protective equipment.
The Fellowship of Chimney Sweepers of the Czech Republic recommends their members the following: a postponement to later dates of chimney sweeping works performance (except in case of emergency) in buildings of healthcare facilities, retirement homes, care and nursing homes, etc., same as chimney sweeping works performance in residential houses where a visit of a larger number of residential units is necessary.
The Fellowship of Organisers of Trade Fairs and Exhibitions did together with other subjects prepare a statement of event and trade fairs industry, i.e., of the organizers of mass events and their suppliers whose business activities were in the current situation thwarted and that in the first line. In the statement, they do, among others, call for a rational “kurzarbeit” system for the following period in between the ban cancellation and the full-scale resumption of activities.
A people gathering ban caused a nationwide closure of cinemas which existentially affected all the cinemas, movie distributors and producers. The digital distribution which could have served as a possible alternative for at least some of the distributors and producers is, unfortunately, devastated by illegal dissemination of movies – there has been recorded a significant increase of almost 50%. More is to be learnt from the Film Distributors Union statement.
In response to the precautions adopted by the Government of the Czech Republic and the emergency state announcement, the Guild of Mechanical Lock Systems of the Czech Republic issues the following information and recommendations for citizens: the key services, emergency opening services and installation services / repairs / mechanical barriers replacements are all excluded from the Government precautions. Those are the activities and operations related or linked to building industry and services for households.
The situation in this sector is roughly the following: most of the shops with painting equipment will be open, in many cases they also sell disinfectants and sometimes even chemist products. A sale for companies should not be cancelled, alternatively the goods could be ordered via e-mail or telephone. We recommend to always check if the store in question is open.
“The Government should compensate the drop-out in the system of public healthcare insurance caused by the postponement of the self-employed payments, i.e., to increase the income by 10 billion Czech crowns at once. I believe that such a step would be supported even by the opposition. It is not possible to rely solely on the use of reserves on accounts of health insurance corporations,” said Mr. Ivo Hlaváč, the Chairman of the Section of Healthcare and Social Services of the Czech Chamber of Commerce for the Zdravotnický deník.
We publish the statement of the Seniors Care Association to the new type of coronavirus pandemics and the recommendations for those who come in contact with the chronically sick and seniors whose lives are in the greatest danger.