Colombian soldier Nazli Panagos received an unusual offer from his boss: Come directly inside the Bogota factory to reduce the chances of getting sick with the novel’s coronavirus.
The owner of the Haichizu factory, which usually employs high0 high-rise producers, has set up a bathroom, a kitchen and a bed for eight of the 1 employees who have returned to work, as Colombia slowly restarts its economy after two months of segregation.
“It’s good, because I don’t go on the streets,” said Panagos, who only goes home on weekends. “I have a little girl and I don’t want to come and go and – you never know – keep the infection at home.”
Establishing living quarters is a rare step, with thousands of Colombian factories and businesses reopening. They are fighting government delays in allowing reopening and are worried about how to sell products to ultimate-isolated customers in Latin America’s fourth-largest economy.
President Evan Duke’s government allowed the gradual reopening, including restrictions on the number of workers in the construction, manufacturing and some retail sectors.
The country’s lockdown – extended four times and lasting until May 31 – has forced it to rebuild like Heichijo.
Factory managers are hopeful that the addition of living quarters will continue the business and prevent transmission to employees. The company is receiving about 15 percent of its regular orders.
“We decided to stay here permanently until we knew what would happen,” said creative director Giorgio Lizarazzo, who lived in the factory and complained about the government’s vague instructions. “Uncertainty worries me … Uncertainty is deadly for any business.”
Colombia’s gradual reopening is similar to that in Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Chile. The strongest hit was with Brazil, the new center of the coronavirus in South America.
Europe, walled by lawsuits in recent months, has begun to open up again.
“Thank God the company called us to work,” said Luis Alfonso Caranza, director of construction for the new apartment-office building in Bogot. “It simply came to our notice then. Our company didn’t pay us, so financially it was really hard.
Karanza said he had not been paid for almost two months and that his wife had also lost her job.
Businesses have slowly come to terms with Reuters’ reversal of official approval of the resumption of work, and they fear customers will buy too little when they are stuck at home and too limited to buy basic.
Another group of businesses, including a beauty salon, could reopen from June 1 with simply reduced capacity and masks.
“That doesn’t mean these fields can operate from June 1 – no, it’s not like that. They have to comply with bio-safety protocols and give them legitimacy,” Commerce Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo said last week.
Disappointed manufacturers say their funds will run out soon.
“The mayor’s office gave us the thumbs up to open the factory with only 20 out of 60 people, but why would we make things if they don’t have anyone to sell to?” Elsa Zarate, director of the garment factory Franstex. “We can’t keep staff at this pace. We only have funds by May 30th. “
About 1 in March. Millions of Colombians lost their jobs and the country’s economy – generally one of the healthiest in the region – will oppose 5.5 percent of the government this year, the government said.
Analysts, including the economic think tank ANIF, say higher unemployment and lower demand will exacerbate the recession, a recent all-time low signal reflecting consumer confidence numbers.
Maria Hernandez, a leather fashion brand, is leaning towards online shopping to try to close stores as soon as factories in Colaria, Venezuela, Panama and Costa Rica begin work.
“The biggest opportunity we have is through the web page,” said Alba Luz Angarita, the factory’s director of operations. “Even though families don’t get together, people still keep things to celebrate. They will always need a gift for someone. “