Firm bans staff from cafes and restaurants in COVID crackdown

One of the world’s biggest companies is to impose strict new rules as it seeks to reduce the spread of COVID amongst its staff.

Technology giant Samsung has imposed new restrictions on its staff in South Korea which go as far as banning their visits to cafes and restaurants outside of their workplaces in an effort to halt the virus within its operations.

Media outlets in South Korea  say Samsung Electronics has tightened measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus on its campuses, including a temporary travel ban on its employees, ahead of a possible upgrade in social distancing rules by the national government.

The firm has a task force on pandemic response within its semiconductor division which has written to both executives and employees about enhanced rules banning nonessential trips and visits to public facilities such as restaurants and cafes outside of its workplaces.

It has also closed its shops, supermarkets and bakeries within the unit’s headquarters in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. Eating has also been banned at places other than designated cafeterias.

All face-to-face business meetings on the campus are prohibited and new restrictions have been put into place on the ability to visit other company offices.

Samsung has told the media the steps needed to be taken given the growing concerns about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. The South Korean government is considering a return to a near lockdown, or Level 3 social distancing restrictions on the country’s five-tier scale, as infection rates reached a new daily record on Wednesday.

“Recent cases tell that people contracted the virus while eating at restaurants and meeting with family members,” a company official told the media. “The company will apply the heightened rules until the end of the year.”