Kathmandu, March 26
The Coronavirus has been affecting life around the globe since the beginning of January 2020. China reported its first death from Coronavirus on January 11. It is almost April and the disease has claimed 18,919 lives around the world [as of March 25]. The virus has spread everywhere affecting the lifestyle and business of people. Is the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) affecting your business as well?
With several countries in lockdown, it is quite obvious!
Source: covidnepal.org [Updated: March 26 6:00 AM GMT]
Firstly, Coronavirus is a human tragedy that has an increasing death toll every day. Secondly, it is impacting the global economy. The outbreak is moving quickly across borders and this article reflects its effect on the business sector.
Start of a Global Pandemic
World Health Organization (WHO) announced the Coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Most countries took immediate action to stop the spread of the virus. As a result, you are reading this article at your home in self-quarantine. Nepal declared its lockdown effective from Chaitra 11, 2076 for a week. Before the announcement of countrywide lockdown, the Nepal government had already issued an order to close social gathering places. This decision affected businesses such as restaurants, cafe, swimming pool, outdoor games, etc. Similarly, India declared a countrywide lockdown for 21 days effective from March 25, 2020.
Some of you are working from home, but for most, there is no way to do that. The coronavirus pandemic is impacting retailers around the world. Shops and department stores had to shut down in affected areas thereby affecting employees and the public. Many international, as well as local stores and businesses, are dealing with supply chain disturbance.
Here’s how some of the big names and luxury brands are dealing with the spread of Coronavirus:
Walmart took immediate action after a Walmart employee in Kentucky was tested positive with COVID-19. The executives sent out an email highlighting a new emergency leave plan for the US-based employees. The retailer has decided to press hold on the regular attendance policy through the end of April.
Again on March 10, the company announced that the employees who contract the virus will receive up to two weeks of pay. Following two weeks, both full-time and part-time hourly associates who are incapable to continue working are eligible for up to 26 weeks in pay.
The employees pushed McDonald’s to consider its paid sick leave policy in view of the coronavirus spread. Also, proper sanitation training and a paid time off was provided to the employees.
However, the policies might differ depending on the state and restaurant ownership. Following the store closures, McDonald’s also postponed its Worldwide convention in Orlando promising a new format of digital experience.
On March 3, Kohl’s executives decided to monitor the supply chain and impact on sales closely. Kohl’s CEO explained that China was not a top sourcing market for the company. As a result, it might not result in a possible sales dip.
Ikea has been putting the safety of customers and co-workers first throughout the coronavirus crisis. Chinese customers could shop online until late January as Ikea closed stores in mainland China temporarily.
The company executives ensured to work with local authorities and the WHO to adapt to the evolving situation.
The situation is maybe much worse in Nepal right now.
Because it was supposed to be the most anticipated year for tourism in Nepal. All the promotional events for Visit Nepal 2020 went down the drain!
Affect of Coronavirus in Nepal’s Business Industry
Nepal is currently in a complete lockdown, which means, no traveling around the world. It is a tourist season and no one can enter or leave the country as of now.
In fact, the occupancy rate at Hotel Annapurna (Durbarmarg) was 40-45% on March 4. Similarly, hotels and lodges over Nepal are feeling the void. The United States indeed is the largest source of Nepal’s tourism industry after China.
It was even estimated that the COVID-19 outbreak would cut up to 0.13% off GDP. This might result in almost 15,880 people going jobless in Nepal. With the situation getting worse, there’s no doubt that the rate might increase rapidly.
The coronavirus outbreak threatens to delay several infrastructure projects in Nepal. These projects were in progress with the aid of Chinese workers. The construction of Pokhara International Airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport, and Melamchi Drinking Water Projects are in hold.
Many technology sectors and IT companies have started working from home. The lockdown restricts unnecessary gatherings or even stepping outside of the house. However, the government has acknowledged the groceries and medical needs of the public. For the ones who don’t yet realize, lockdown doesn’t mean blockade. The government has ensured the import of goods regardless of the lockdown.
It will be sometime before we can estimate the exact blow in the economy of Nepal due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, it may be possible to bounce back from unprecedented loss with the economy of the whole world at pause.
Certainly, the coronavirus disease has affected everyone’s business. But, to what extent?
Let us know!