Wheels of Icelandic Industry Turn Slowly
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, every industry in Iceland is experiencing a slowdown. Preparations are underway to park most of Icelandair’s fleet, since almost all flight service to and from Iceland has come to a halt, Morgunblaðið reports.
The airline is currently operating at only 14 percent capacity. A total of 240 employees were laid of yesterday, and all other employees have taken a pay cut, and their employment ratio has been reduced.
The price of Icelandair stock fell by 22 percent yesterday. Company officials do not rule out further measures in an effort to cut costs.
The travel industry has almost come to a standstill, and the situation is getting tighter in the fishing industry. “From what I hear, cutting back is inevitable,” states Sigurgeir Brynjar Kristgeirsson, managing director of Vinnslustöðin – a fishing company in Vestmannaeyjar islands.
Responding to the present situation, much of the catch must be salted, since salted fish has a long shelf life. Sigurgeir states that an inquiry from China regarding fresh fish recently arrived – something that’s under consideration.
An agreement between the Icelandic Financial Services Association and Icelandic Pension Funds was announced yesterday, offering companies a temporary grace period on loan payments. Companies that fulfill certain requirements can apply for the deferral of payment of up to six months.
Due to the pandemic, normal operations at dental offices have been temporarily halted, with the exception of urgent cases. This change took effect today, as stricter rules were implemented in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Dentists have expressed concern about the imminent lack of personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, of which there is a worldwide shortage.
Dental work is among services that require proximity between people. The same applies to barber shops, beauty salons and massage centers – all of which had to close today and will remain closed through April 11.
The stock of necessities in Iceland, such as food, medications and fuel, is closely monitored, and Morgunblaðið reports that all of these are in healthy supply. There has been no interruption of shipments to the country, with the exception of fresh fruit from California, since there is no flight service between Iceland and the West Coast of the US.