COVID-19: Companies must enact new policies to slow the spread and protect workers

Thursday May 21 2020

 

By Paul Raphael

From imposing travel bans to prohibiting mass gatherings and shutting down schools, governments across Africa have increasingly adopted sweeping measures in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The emergency moves come amid a worrying rise in the number of infections registered in recent days across the continent after weeks of relatively few reported cases.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has on the economic front prompted many industries to adapt how they conduct business operations.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus and protect workers, many industries have sought to enact new policies toward that direction.
In Tanzania, the country’s civil aviation authority suspended all international flights.
Meanwhile, decisions were made to temporarily close schools and pause sporting events to prevent large public gatherings.
Elsewhere, it is likely that some of the country’s larger companies have looked to cancel face-to-face meetings, postpone conferences, reduce international travel and – where possible – use digital technology – to maintain routine business activity.
In what is likely to become the new normal, going forward, many of these companies are likely to have to consider these steps when planning business operations in the coming weeks and months.
The preparatory work surrounding an initial public offering (IPO) is a good example of where companies may choose to postpone activities.
It is important to remember that IPOs require a great deal of in-person meetings, audits and presentations. It therefore might be wise for the IPO to be delayed until a time when it is safer and easier to do so.
One of the country’s largest telcos – Tigo Tanzania – was preparing for its IPO. In these times, however, it might be wise to postpone such a move, to help encourage social distancing, reduce unnecessary travel and help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
By pausing non-essential activities, companies can wait and prepare for the right window of opportunity, knowing they are poised to resume at a time when is best suited for all.