The Regional Chamber of Commerce in Karlovy Vary Helps Entrepreneurs During the Second Wave of the Coronavirus Epidemics

Citizens and entrepreneurs of the Karlovy Vary Region, the smallest region with 290,000 inhabitants and the smallest GDP per capita within the Czech Republic, are currently struggling with the effect of the coronavirus epidemic. The specificities in the region are that the damages have structural nature, since services and mining industry are dominant in the region. It is the mining industry that has been declining and a hundred of miners were made redundant during the ongoing economic crisis. Another 13,500 work places, mostly in tourism and spa industry, are in danger. The spa industry and tourism are the fields, which are most hit by the coronavirus crisis.

“The Chamber of Commerce is the sole representative of entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic and supports their activities. Thus, we have set an expert team, which provides free advice for entrepreneurs on the issues of state measures, crisis management, legal, financial and tax issues, grants, and business optimization. One member of the team informs entrepreneurs on the state measures, answers their inquiries regarding state measures, support programs or travel restrictions to- or from- particular countries. Moreover, we organize video conferences on topical issues” noted Tomáš Linda, MBA, Chairman of the Board of the Karlovy Vary Chamber of Commerce.

The last months of the crisis have proven the significance of the Chamber of Commerce and its activities. “Apart from the long-term population outflows and unresolved structural problems, we have been facing the immediate impact of emergency measures, taken as a response to the pandemics, on most of the fields of local economy. We fear another outflow of inhabitants, which could have detrimental impact on the region, huge increase in unemployment and collapse of local economy, which could result in long-term effects for the region, as well for the state. Furthermore, we observe a huge risk in insolvency, the collapse of supplier-customer relations, and in the inability of quick economic restart after the end of the pandemic”, noted Linda.

During the epidemic, the staff of the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Karlovy Vary conducted several surveys, in which they identified the current difficulties and needs of the entrepreneurs in the region. The data was analyzed afterwards and the conclusions were delivered to the authorities, so that the state aid to entrepreneurs and companies could be effective.

We are the sole and closest partners of the entrepreneurs in the region, therefore we have the opportunity to design efficient measures. Based on the information that we have collected, we make recommendations for the entrepreneurs how to obtain support from the state” pointed out Stanislav Kříž, Director of the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Karlovy Vary.

And how is the situation perceived by the entrepreneurs in the Karlovy Vary Region? The decrease in orders and the restrictions of the cross-border movement are seen as the biggest obstacles. The vast majority of the entrepreneurs would welcome reductions of levies, state support of investment, as well as a return to their normal life. In the current situation, it is crucial to have a general idea when the restrictive measures could end or perhaps under what conditions a return to normal life could be expected, so that further steps could be taken. This is crucial in both personal and economic sphere.