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13 associations address gov't with 6 point anti-crisis plan

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, January 21
After the second lockdown by the Government of Georgia on November 28, the restrictions were not phased out at the time initially announced. Some private sector sectors are expected to open on February 1. However, which sectors will be allowed to open from that time is yet unknown.

Due to the severe economic situation in the country, the large business associations of different economic activities, presented a 6-point plan to pull the country out of the crisis to the government yesterday.

According to the authors of the cross-sectoral plan, businesses see the threat of a further extension of the restrictions by the state from February 1 and call on the government to let the private sector start operating.

“Although we are well aware of the difficult situation in the field of healthcare in Georgia, we want to reaffirm our position - the country is on the verge of survival or total extinction! Many sectors are bankrupt, which is why the tax system and even the banking sector are in a deplorable state. Total unemployment reigns (except for state agencies),” reads the statement.

According to them, the only guarantee for the fulfillment of the country's financial obligations is the activation of all business sectors, which requires the immediate lifting of restrictions and the resumption of flights.

"The country's economy and budget are in the worst situation, which puts into question the future development prospects of the country. For the last 11 months since the pandemic that began in March, the lockdown and economic stagnation has been going on for 5 months now, which is an inadmissible luxury for our rather poor country, the equivalent of a death sentence for the economy. The country has undertaken numerous international financial commitments that need to be fulfilled. The only guarantee of this is the activated business sector.

While there is still a way to save our country and a small way out of the current situation, it is necessary to take into account all the regulations established by epidemiologists and the experience of the world's leading countries in the shortest possible time!

According to the intersectoral initiative it is necessary to:

1. Urgently operate transport, both urban and interurban, road, metro and rail (taking into account the minimization of concentration). Stopped transport is the cause of increased unemployment today and is discrimination against the lowest income groups;

2. Restoration of international aviation communication as a number of countries do - take the example of neighboring countries (domestic flights fly to the EU, Turkey, Dubai, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Czech Republic, Armenia), which have not stopped the international tourism business and at the same time successfully cope with the epidemic.

3. Start operating a restaurant business which is one of the most mobilized businesses in terms of meeting the demands of epidemiologists. The closure of this business leads to absolutely uncontrolled shadow activities and ‘closed’ parties.

4. To operate hotels, taking into account the requirements of domestic and foreign tourism; There are quite a few hotels operating today. By the same token, all hotels should be allowed to resume operations.

5. Restore the operation of malls and non-grocery stores; We have a successful result of such processing during the New Year. As we have seen, such work has not led to an increase in the number of patients of any kind.

6. Start operating winter resorts, both hotels and cable lifts. According to the association, keeping the social distance there is a technical issue, which is simple to solve and the prospect of developing entire regions shouldn't be sacrificed. The head of the mountain resorts business association emphasized that mountain resorts will not be able to withstand the closing of the second season and will go bankrupt.

All 13 Associations are committed to complying with the recommendations and advocating for mass testing, but refrain from incurring costs associated with the process.