COVID-2019: “Malta should be prepared for a worst-case scenario situation”

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Malta should be prepared for a worst-case scenario situation in relation to COVID-2019, according to the Malta Chamber of SMEs. In a press release commenting on business disruptions due to the coronavirus, the Chamber explained that any plans in relation to a potential outbreak in Malta should be publicly announced to put everyone’s mind at rest.

Such early logistical plans and awareness of the issue will save businesses unnecessary struggles, said the Chamber.

The press release went on to say that during the last weeks and days it received many queries and issues from members. These seem to vary between wanting to keep a healthy work environment, to delays in getting the goods and materials needed due to the effect the coronavirus is having internationally.

The Chamber’s members have also reported that customers have increased their shopping patterns in view of what is happening in Italy. Despite this, the Chamber insisted that “there is no cause for alarm, everyone should go about their life normally, taking the simple precautionary measures already made public.”

In the press release, the Chamber referred to the request made by port workers yesterday for better protection. It said that this meant that until an agreement was reached, the release of goods was delayed by a significant number of hours. The SME Chamber went on to say that such worries as those of the port workers should have been identified before so that there’s no room for confusion, alarm and delays for local businesses. It insisted that being an island, Malta’s entry and exit points are very easily identifiable and preventive action can be targeted.

The SME Chamber appealed for more awareness on the disruptions that the coronavirus has caused on an international trade level. “China has suffered great disruption with some factories being closed until the worse is over and the country is not in a normal functioning state. This will inevitably cause delays for most imports to reach Malta,” it went on to say.

Due to the above, the SME Chamber advised businesses to take this into consideration and therefore try and plan and adjust their workflows accordingly to mitigate the impact. “Businesses should also make their clients aware for order delays they are likely to experience. This will avoid unnecessary tensions at a later stage,” it explained.

The SME Chamber reproduced guidelines so that businesses and workers can take care of their own health as prevention for any potential outbreaks. The guidelines can be accessed through here.