Testing times: Print industry takes on Covid-19

As the number of Covid-19 cases surge in the country, several states in India have imposed strict restrictions in office duties, public transportation and social gatherings.

23 Mar 2020 | By Aultrin Vijay

With the number of Covid-19 cases rising to 415 in India, corporate firms, local and government establishments have announced their support in containing the deadly coronavirus. Several retail outlets and manufacturing units have shut down owing to government restrictions.

Government authorities have ensured that there is no need to panic and the steady supply of essential commodities would be made available to the general public. However, some businesses have no other option other than shutting down its operations, as some states have stopped more than 90% of its local transportation services.

Almost all organisations are collectively adhering to government guidelines to combat the spread of the deadly virus. Some corporate companies have asked its employees to work from home, whereas some have ordered complete shutdown till 31 March until further notice.

Though this may have a significant impact on businesses, including the print sector, industry biggies and corporate heads have come up with measures adhering to government regulations, to combat the virus together.

Ample Graphics has notified its employees that the company will be completely shut down for seven days until further notice. The announcement stated: "Keeping in mind the corporate responsibility and ensuring the wellbeing of all our staff and employees, we have decided for a complete shutdown of our company for the next seven days to begin with. Thank you for your kind understanding to help us fight this virus. Stay safe. In case of any emergency, please feel free to contact us and we will do everything possible within our capacity to help."

A similar notification was circulated within UV Graphic Technologies and Sodhisons.

Meanwhile, the Bombay Master Printers Association (BMPA) sent out circulars to its members stating: "These are unprecedented times. But as a nation and one connected globe, we have the resolve and understanding to see ourselves through these tough times. As you would have already gathered from a variety of media and other sources of updates, the Janta Curfew is extending and growing into an effective outreach programme to fight the virus. It is a significant measure and needs our thorough understanding and support.

"Presently the Government of India and states have charted out the 10 districts in Maharashtra where there is to be a total lockdown and only essential goods and services will be allowed to operate. Fighting this virus is likened to a war and the enemy is not visible to the naked eye.

"As an association, we urge members to comply with whatever directive the authorities issue, without thinking of individual loss or gain. We should continue to compensate our staff during such time until we overcome this situation. The lockdown 10 to 15 days may not be sufficient. We all should be prepared for the long lockdown period.

"Please prepare your lockdown protocol well thought and (keep it) well informed to your team. If possible do procure and keep in place material required for lockdown and reopen. Please strengthen your security arrangements. Forewarned is forearmed, and luckily we are seeing that come up as an effective disaster management."

Precautions taken at companies and factories

  1. IR thermometer made available at gate for monitoring all employees.
  2. Sanitizer (made in-house with 70% IPA) made available at gate and each door. Everyone being "forced" to sanitise upon each movement.
  3. Doors and handles kept clean by housekeeping staff. Machines are being frequently cleaned
  4. Ban on visitors and team travels
  5. Laptops are kept ready with software for pre-press; CS and sales team given online access to MIS.
  6. Employees provided with sanitizer bottles to use it at home. Almost 200 litres of IPA kept in stock
  7. Arrangements for core team members to stay put in factory for three weeks in case commute becomes risky.
  8. First aid kits stocked with fresh medicines.
  9. Masks provided to all. Disposal at their homes in bag.
  10. Keeping sufficient bank balance, pushing customers for payments.
  11. Communicating frequently with customers.
  12. Social distancing and hygiene training to the staff.