Major Russian companies take mostly minor measures against coronavirus as St. Petersburg bans large events
As Russia’s confirmed COVID-19 case count continues to hover in the mid-double digits, large companies and cities outside Moscow are beginning to take precautions. St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov announced that from March 16 to April 30, all events involving more than 1,000 people will be banned. The surrounding Leningrad region, meanwhile, banned events of over 300 people following its first confirmed case: a woman from Kudrovo who had recently visited Italy.
Large Russian corporations, including state corporations, are beginning to take precautions as well. In many cases, those measures remain relatively mild. The oil and gas company Gazprom recommended that its employees “refrain from traveling frequently abroad,” an anonymous source told Interfax. While employees will continue to work in person, meetings involving more than 10 people will be held by videoconference.
At Russian Railways, meanwhile, corporate leaders asked their employees to suspend nonessential travel outside Russia but did not appear to take additional preventative measures.
Yandex, a Russian tech giant whose services echo Google’s, has gone further than its peers, telling its employees to work from home for at least a week if possible. The company has also told workers to avoid public transit if they do come to work, offering to compensate them for taxi rides. The company previously cancelled events and recommended moving meetings of more than 15 – 20 people online.