Matt Atlas

OKD’s Mishandled COVID-19 Response Cost Local Businesses Millions

OKD’s disastrous response to the COVID-19 outbreak in their coal mines had a devastating effect on the local economy. One business says they lost CZK 20 million, and the state and OKD are to blame, Aktuálne reports.

Tourism in the Moravian-Silesian Region has been hit hard due to the COVID-19 outbreak. People are afraid to visit the area now and are canceling trips, and businesses like the Darkov SPA in Karviná are suffering because of it.

Their CEO Pavlína Filipi believes that if not for OKD’s mishandling of the outbreak at the mines, the economic and health toll on the region would have been far lower.

“We lost CZK 20 million because of OKD. And this is because they underestimated the situation. It is the sole responsibility of OKD and the state as the owner,” Filipi thinks.

Filipi compares state-owned OKD‘s handling of COVID-19 to her own experience at the Spa. Upon hearing of a local outbreak, the Spa tested all 130 employees at their own expense. “Which is how OKD should have handled it. Instead, mining continued, and the hospitals in Karviná were impacted because of that,” Filipi told Aktuálne.

OKD’s management is pushing back against the criticism. The chairwoman of the board of directors, Vanda Staňková, denies that the mine should have been closed sooner. “We decided to do so, although neither hygiene nor epidemiologists ordered this interruption of mining, but after we did, we welcomed this decision. We believe that we simply could not do more,” says Staňková.

She added that even before the outbreak, the mines had extensive preventive measures, including general disinfection of bathrooms, changing rooms, catering facilities, and other areas.