Current news reports reflect a worsening situation:

  • The EU Commission approves further state aids. The EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, says the EU endeavors with its member states to support businesses.
  • Germany is about to reach its limits. The Ifo Institute forecasts that the economy will contract by 12.2 percent in the second quarter, based on surveys of 8,800 companies.
  • The President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, says: “The state cannot compensate for turnover in the long run.” This was not a long-term solution.

These are just three examples. We do also consider the particular importance of Wolfgang Schäuble’s statements on Fundamental Rights issues: “Fundamental Rights are mutually restrictive. If there is any absolute value in our Basic Law, it is human dignity. It is inviolable. But it does not rule out the possibility that we must die.” The Chairman of the German Ethics Council, Peter Dabrock, and the former constitutional judge Udo di Fabio have expressed similar views. di Fabio considers the current measures to be constitutional, but also says: “We have to live with certain socially appropriate risks. Otherwise, we would have to completely ban road traffic due to 3,000 deaths on the roads. The constitutional state always holds the balance between freedom and security, and it balances in such a way that accountability is given.”

We need a credible plan

In this context, we refer to an earlier article on our Corona page: the pandemic is now followed by the pancession. Even then, we expected a decline of 10 to 15 percent for the industry in Germany in 2020. This is virtually unavoidable but can still exacerbate if the shutdown in May is not significantly reduced. On April 2nd, we have already predicted the insolvency of 30 percent of the restaurants. Retail is struggling to survive. People’s consumer sentiment has fallen to a minimum, with the Ifo Institute measuring historic lows of its indices. We need a credible, confident plan now! Of course, this means taking risks. But we do so by getting in the car in the morning – or going to a hospital for treatment with more than 20,000 people dying from hospital germs each year. It is important that all risks are made transparent and that everyone is sticking to the measures recognised as effective: hygiene, distance, masks!

In your company, you must ensure this as well. Often, the devil is in the details here. The virus can only be combated with coordinated and targeted measures. We need the Corona app now. We need reliable distances and low-contact collaboration in shops and businesses, where contact-free work is not possible. Geriatric care does not happen from the home office. But caring for the elderly is systemically important work. Both public and private employers have a duty to protect their employees.

Flexible working time rules prevent infections

We need new working time rules for the coming months. If work is allowed on weekends without exemptions, the attendance density is reduced by more than 25 percent. Therefore, flexible working time models help to reduce infections. That companies enjoy great advantages from already having increased the flexibility of their production becomes even clearer now. The flexibility of production creates room for maneuvers allowing for increased distances – and thus, the reduced risk of infection.

It is true that we must live with Corona for even longer. Therefore, we must prepare all systems to pave the way. Here, too, the experiences from the 1990s apply: the fast ones will be the winners, not automatically the big ones. We wish you the best of success with the examination, and if necessary, the re-organization of your value creation system! Of course, we would very gladly support you.

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