South Korea imposes social distancing level 4, industries in crisis

As the Korean government decided to impose the highest level of social distancing (level 4) throughout the Seoul metropolitan areas from Monday due to the fourth wave of COVID-19, the industries are also in an emergency.

Previously, industries expected economic recovery with the recent expansion of vaccination. However, as Delta variant has spread around the world, industries are concerned that the business 'shutdown', which was occurred after the coronavirus pandemic declaration in the first half of last year, will be repeated.

Korean major companies immediately upgraded in-house quarantine guidelines following the government's social distancing policy and expanded telework.

The industries are also focusing on minimizing infections among employees by expanding telework in line with social distancing level 4.

In response to the government social distancing policy, Samsung Electronics will apply new quarantine guidelines from today.

Samsung Electronics ordered employees to refrain from visiting high-risk facilities such as karaoke, bars and nightclubs, and take the COVID-19 test before returning to work if they visited the facilities. In addition, it has stopped all face-to-face meetings, educations and events that were allowed for less than 10 persons, and also banned a business dinner.

Previously, telework was operated autonomously due to the nature of the manufacturing industry, but designated departments such as home appliances and mobile devices have been recommended that up to 30 per cent of employees to work from home based on the judgment of the head. In addition, business trips will be limited only in Korea.

LG Electronics is going to ban all business trips, external meetings, and trainings from today. LG Electronics previously decided to reduce the proportion of telework from this month, but maintained its proportion of telework at 40 per cent due to the recent surge in confirmed cases of COVID-19, and now it has raised it to half (50 per cent) since July 8.

As the social distancing level increased to level 4, SK Group turned into 100 per cent telework mode excepting some essential employees at the holding company SK corp. and SK Innovation.

Hanwha Group also announced enhanced quarantine guidelines that recommend all affiliates that can work from home to telework at least one-half of the employees and enforce at least one-third of employees to telework on July 9.

It also banned all face-to-face meetings, personal appointments among employees, business dinners and business trips.

Some affiliates of Hanwha, including Hanwha Solution Chemical, are currently imposing more enhanced quarantine guidelines with more than 80 per cent of its employees working from home. Hanwha E & C has banned all face-to-face meetings, trainings, business dinners and field safety check, which were limitedly allowed before.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Group has also decided to strengthen its portion of telework from 30 per cent to 50 per cent. The company's policies such as the time difference commuting system (7-10 o'clock), a ban on domestic business trips, the permission of meetings less than 10 people and education will be maintained.

Hyundai Motor Group has been maintained the existing quarantine guidelines. Currently, up to 50 per cent of employees are working at home. The existing quarantine guidelines such as restriction on domestic business trips, refrain from business dinner, no admittance to outsiders will be maintained.

A semiconductor company SK Hynix has not expanded teleworking as its production facilities have been automated already, but it has blocked the possibility of infection by re-closing its in-house sports gym, which was opened earlier this month.

The industries are highly wary as the variant that more than doubled the infection rate has spread around the world.

It was expected that the world's economy would be recovered with the vaccination, but it is concerned again that the re-spread of COVID-19 will affect industries negatively.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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