Some Armenian businesses resume operations following restrictions during state of emergency
The commandant’s office of the state of emergency of Armenia went on to partially remove the restrictions on the areas of activity. They were introduced a month ago when a state of emergency was declared due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The state of emergency in Armenia was initially scheduled from March 16 to April 14. At the same time, a restriction was imposed on all areas of activity, except those deemed essential. Grocery stores and pharmacies remained open during this time. Now the state of emergency has been extended until May 14. Some businesses have the opportunity to return to work, but public transport and the metro are still at a standstill.
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Who can return to work
Some processing plants began to operate again. Production of tobacco products, cement, gypsum, lime, and metal structures is now permitted, and companies that supply parts for their assembly are also allowed to resume operations.
Almost all construction projects were removed from the list of temporarily prohibited activities. So far, workers are only able to resume working on projects that are in the final stage of construction.
Engineers and construction consultants also returned to the workplace.
Along with this announcement, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan urged on the leadership of all enterprises to increase sanitary measures:
“At this stage, we attach particular importance to the responsibility of corporations and the extent to which they provide safe working conditions in order to reduce the likelihood of infection among their employees. I once again urge employers to take all anti-epidemiological measures so that we can not only maintain the positive trends we have seen in recent days, but also leave the peak of the epidemic behind us.”
The commandant’s office will advise all corporations on how to work most efficiently with minimal risk of infection.
Parliament proposed to expand the list
The issue of permitting some areas of the business sphere to go back to work was discussed not only by the cabinet, but by the parliament.
One of the opposition factions proposed to significantly expand the list of permitted areas of activity. The head of the Enlightened Armenia Party Edmond Marukyan, in particular, made a proposal to start up public transport and the metro, and to permit hardware stores and centers selling sports equipment to resume operations.
He also suggested resuming the work of inter-regional transport, maintenance points and customs clearance of cars:
“We must gradually, step by step, return these areas to work. And the restrictions should be logical.”
But most MPs did not support his proposal.
Social media commentary
Social media users had mixed reactions to the commandant’s announcement. Some citizens believe that relaxing the restrictions may lead to a second wave of the virus and threatens people’s lives:
“We’ve already been patient for so long, we could have endured another week. But now it may all just start over again.”
Others believe that restrictions create financial difficulties for thousands of people, and if possible, they should be removed:
“There won’t be any disaster. All restrictions must be logical. The authorities have the public on a short leash. For how long?”