- In addition to encouraging telecommuting, suspending travel and reinforcing hygiene and other measures to protect employees at all companies, the group has also introduced customer-centric measures, such as Banco de Chile’s arrangement to postpone payments on mortgage and consumer loans and its special loan plan for SMEs.
- The CEO of Quiñenco, Francisco Pérez Mackenna, commented, “The health of people is our top priority. We are taking all steps necessary to protect our employees, while at the same time ensuring business continuity at group companies, helping to contain the virus and contributing to the country running properly.”
Santiago, March 18, 2020.- In response to the growing public health alert for the coronavirus pandemic and the declaration of a State of Catastrophe by the President of Chile, Quiñenco S.A., the Luksic Group’s industrial and financial holding, and the numerous companies within the holding, have intensified their action plan to ensure the safety of their employees, support customers, maintain operational continuity and help confront the emergency in Chile.
“The public health alarm is critical, but international experience is helping us devise an action plan that will help slow the spread of the virus. Today everyone’s priority, including authorities, companies and society, must be to safeguard the health of people and ensure that the supply chain for goods and services operates as normal as possible,” remarked Francisco Pérez Mackenna, CEO of Quiñenco.
On a corporate level, the company has followed the example of some of its international partners, organizing two shifts that rotate each week, allowing at least 50% of their workers to telecommute and guaranteeing that the company’s operating processes run properly. In addition, the company is providing private transportation for employees who must go to the office, thus preventing them from commuting on public transport, and has placed no-touch thermometers at building entrances to screen the health of employees and outside visitors. Furthermore, travel has been suspended and replaced by videoconferencing and the frequency of office sanitation has increased, among other measures.
To support customers, Banco de Chile has announced two specific measures. First, it will allow customers to postpone their next few monthly installments for mortgage and consumer loans until maturity, thus alleviating their financial burden as a result of the crisis. In addition, the Bank has announced an extraordinary loan for SMEs with special conditions and terms between 6 and 48 months to cover their most urgent financing needs. At the same time, in order to protect workers, employees that fall within special risk groups are working remotely and a system of staggered starting and ending times at offices and staggered dining times in cafeterias has been implemented in order to eliminate crowds and peak hours. Several other measures have been instituted, including reinforcing sanitation at branches and urging customers to use mobile platforms for banking operations and transactions.
Enex announced that it had removed tables from its upa! and upita! convenience stores, leaving only take-out food service, prioritizing the health of its employees and customers and working to strengthen product availability in stores to ensure business continuity and supply for customers. The company has intensified efforts to protect employees by reinforcing hygiene at service stations and convenience stores, temporarily closing bathrooms for customers at urban service stations and limiting self-service car vacuuming services.
CCU has implemented an intense work plan structured around two objectives: safeguarding the health and safety of its workers and people they are in contact with, and ensuring operational continuity in order to maintain production and meet the population’s supply needs. This comprehensive plan is based on strict care and safety measures for the company’s employees. They have modified working methods inside plants to guarantee a minimum distance of one meter between workers, along with restricting access by external persons at plants and offices and setting up a Human Resources hotline to answer questions about employee health and, if needed, refer them to an online medical consultation service, thus minimizing the number of people going to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. In addition, it requested that employees that fall within risk groups stay home and not go to the office. It is also using telecommuting systems for certain positions as feasible, as well as scheduling shifts in common areas such as cafeterias, dressing areas and locker rooms to avoid overcrowding.
In the port terminals, towage and logistics sectors, SM SAAM has been coordinating with the respective authorities since day one to contain the advancement of Covid-19. This has included, for example, holding a drill at Antofagasta Terminal Internacional to prepare for the possibility of a cargo ship arriving with a crew member confirmed or suspected to be infected by corona virus; suspending all external visitors, such as schools, organizations and the community at large, and limiting access to only people working at facilities; and adopting multiple measures to reinforce hygiene and maintain distance between work teams in all areas.
Regarding the decisions implemented and those that will continue to be made, Francisco Pérez Mackenna explained, “The health of people is our top priority. We are taking all steps necessary to protect our employees, while at the same time ensuring business continuity at group companies, helping to contain the virus and contributing to the country running properly.”