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Business Unusual – Personal Insights into the Global Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak

2020.03.10 11:10
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Like many companies, DMA Media – the owner of thenewsmarket.com – has offices and employees around the world. From Milan to Munich, from Ahmedabad to Brussels, all of our staff members have been impacted by the coronavirus in a host of different ways. What we do know is, over the last few weeks, it’s certainly not been business as usual for us and our clients.

 

Italy is Europe’s worst hit country. With a rapidly rising number of cases, the government has imposed a variety of emergency measures to control the outbreak. It’s decided to close all of Italy's schools and universities until the middle of March. It’s also ordered all big sporting events to be played behind closed doors because of the virus emergency.

 

Claudia Bucello is DMA’s Senior Account Manager. She is based in Milan in the region of Lombardy, which is in the yellow zone, meaning at risk, but not as much as the quarantined red zones. Over the past two weeks, all schools, theatres, museums, cinemas, gyms etc. have been closed.

 

Claudia offered her personal insight into the situation in Milan. “People are staying mainly indoors. Although, at the weekend, restaurants are still quite busy. The atmosphere around is a bit tense – but there are no empty supermarkets as the news has reported. To that end everything is pretty normal.”

 

She added: “Most companies have asked employees to work from home. Most companies have also cancelled all business trips. I myself have cancelled my visit to a client. Businesses will be highly affected by this, for sure.”  

 

Reaction from around the world…

 

Over in the U.S. so far, the main impact has been the cancellation of events and companies starting to issue ‘no travel’ orders to their employees.

 

Steve Bainnson is our Vice President of Sales in the U.S. He told us: “Of course the virus has been the subject of all media almost 24/7, so that is naturally going to start to make people concerned and worried. It is inevitable that the number of cases is going to increase along with fatalities linked to the virus. While difficult, it is important for people to try to understand that the fear factor is more consuming than the actual virus at this point.”

 

Steve added: “Allowing worry and concern to dominate your every waking thought can’t possibly be healthy either.”

 

In Germany, most federal states have now reported cases of infection. Christina Kahlert is Head of Central Europe for DMA and TheNewsMarket. She shared the following thoughts.

 

“Corona is not only a virus affecting people’s health, it is affecting the way people are thinking and it is also affecting our economy. Where does it end? Today we had our monthly conference call with the Board of DPRG (Germany’s PR association). All our friends and colleagues working at the big players are no longer allowed to travel and take part in meetings or events outside their offices. We are all communications people (journalists and PR people). So how should we communicate if this is only possible in a more or less virtual way?”

 

Meanwhile, it seems the British have a relatively relaxed attitude towards the virus. A poll for YouGov of ten countries found just 5% of those polled in the UK said they are ‘very scared’ of contracting the coronavirus. That compares to 26% in China and 47% in Indonesia. 26% in the UK also said they are ‘not at all scared’ of contracting the virus.

 

Keely Valentine, DMA’s Head of Production and Client Services, says: “Here in the UK, we’re all being told to clean our hands and say ‘happy birthday’ twice and regularly use anti-bacterial gel. However, having two schoolchildren, I keep heading to shops to stock up only to find the shelves empty. This has gone on for a couple of weeks now. Our local pharmacist has a morning delivery at 8am but it sells out within minutes.”

 

Like many crises, necessity is the mother of invention. Many of DMA’s global clients are finding new and imaginative ways to launch products or showcase new services to customers and journalists – without the need of using the major trade shows for their reveals. And our team members are supporting them 24/7 during this challenging time.

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