The Coronavirus is having a drastic effect on our society: it is a deadly disease that has devastated and paralysed our economic and social lives. It confines us in our homes and forces us to face great uncertainties.
It has also inspired an enormous movement of commitment, responsibility and fraternity through our conviction that by fighting the disease we can start to rebuild our economy and society together and ensure that nobody is left behind.
First of all, the role of health professionals and organizations must be recognised, along with the dedication of those public servants, logistics workers, food industries and providers of basic necessities, meaning all those whose work is essential for our society to function.
The commitment of different sectors
It is a very positive sign that so many professional, economic and social sectors have shown themselves committed to collaboration and contributing in this struggle for life and the future. These sectors are active in the country’s economy, appearing in many of the shows that Fira de Barcelona hosts or arranges.
Many companies have adapted their production facilities to respond to the new requirements provoked by the pandemic, adapting their services to the new needs of consumers and small businesses, the self-employed and stores (free services, extended payment terms, facilities for payment) and have contributed material and products for various groups. They have shown that we can set up highly practical collaborative networks between business and institutions in crisis situations like the one we are experiencing now.
Food. This is a vital sector to ensure that the population is supplied, but besides maintaining production and distribution, it also stands out for making donations of food to hospitals, the elderly and people at risk of exclusion through Food Banks and a range of organizations and associations.
Hotels and Restaurants. Like the whole tourism sector, this has been one of the worst affected by the Coronavirus crisis, which has forced businesses and establishments to close. Many hotels have been converted into medical hotels where patients with mild symptoms can be isolated. Many tourist apartments are also sheltering people in special circumstances derived from the pandemic. Some restaurant chains are producing food for hospitals free of charge and helping to run food kitchens. There are also initiatives such as Food4Heroes in which cooks volunteer to prepare food for health workers.
Chemicals and pharmacies. The activity of this sector is crucial during a pandemic. The chemical industry has shifted production to the products most necessary and in demand such as medical plastics, oxygen and disinfectants. Cosmetics manufacturers have adapted their facilities to make alcohol-based hand sanitiser gels.
The pharmaceutical industry is vital in any health crisis and has responded in three ways. By producing drugs and tests to detect the coronavirus and by setting up research teams to find treatments to contain the epidemic and find the specific vaccine to combat it.
Technology. This is especially important in this situation. The use of platforms, telecoms companies, technology service providers, etc, has resulted in offers of free services for clients to help them get through the confinement, help them to work from home and enable children to continue their studies at home.
Industrial sectors. 3D printing is very important for the production of ventilators and other medical instruments thanks to the capacity to adapt production lines and teamwork. The motor industry (such as Seat), the plastics sector and industrial innovation centres like the Consortium of Zona Franca and the specialist 3D makers network have all taken part.
Fashion and textiles. The fashion sector, whether major brands or small businesses, have started to make masks and personal protection equipment for health workers, while major companies and retailers have donated masks and protective clothing for the field hospitals that have been set up.
Culture and education. The culture sector has strived to ease confinement at home and to help children, parents and teachers with the task of continuing education at home. Publishers have put their catalogues online, universities and schools are offering courses using online learning platforms, and the scientific community is dedicating its efforts to research the coronavirus. We should not overlook the dedication of entertainers who have offered performances and special programmes on social media and television channels for the population in lockdown.