AmCham President’s Message to Members, March 1st

Dear members,

Chestita Baba Marta! This celebration is here in Bulgaria for centuries. This is one of the most solid traditions here. And we all respect it for the sake of health and prosperity.

It is a bit of a strange coincidence that on March 1st we will witness not only the traditional exchange of martenitsas, but also the reopening of the restaurants, pubs and cafes at 50% of their capacity. For the government and for these businesses’ owners it is an important milestone of the reopening of the country during the pandemic. Polls say that many people are waiting for this moment for months: the owners, the clients, the employees. A whole industry is waiting for their new chance to start working.

However, I feel that it is our Board’s duty to remind all of our members and their colleagues to continue following the anti-epidemic measures. The famous 3 Ds should remain: distance gives us confidence, disinfection gives us clean and safe environment, and discipline is a true display of our wisdom in such times.

First, I would like to address the Leadership of our members. It is our duty to set the rules in our organizations and to assure their proper following by each of our colleagues. However, in times of pandemic our responsibilities should go beyond the borders of the operating facilities, and the walls of home offices. Yes, it is our colleagues’ choice how they will spend their private moments, but we could at least communicate with them and insist that they should not rush to crowded places such as restaurants and bars. Because we all care for their own good and their health and lives, we should encourage them to follow the rules, and we should lead by example.

I would like to address the people who are working in our member companies. We have relied on the support of many of you in the past. We would like to rely on the knowledge and passion for doing good of you all in the future. We will overcome this challenge together. I know how tempting it is to go to a bar for a drink or two with friends or dine at a restaurant with a well-cooked meal. These moments are well ahead for all of us, believe me. Those places will be there in April, June, October. And they will welcome us all. There is neither need to rush, nor to be a frequent visitor before a massive vaccination is done.

The bottom-line here is simple. In period of increasing numbers of infected and deceased people in Bulgaria, we all should resist the temptation to quench our desire for socializing in public places. We all hope that the government will deliver all the vaccines that are needed to bring some normality and safety to our lives and work.

So, please act responsibly. And stay safe.

Olivier