The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling on government to lift restrictions on all business sectors with a proviso for strict adherence to COVID-19 hygiene requirements. President of the Chamber Geoff Jacobs says the poor will be the hardest hit by the folding of small businesses, which are the biggest casualties of the restrictions.
Jacobs says they have received several enquiries from their 2 000 member organisations who are indicating that they are shutting down.
A few more businesses like hardware stores, restaurants, plumbers, electricians and emergency repairs for cars, are some of those that have been allowed to trade under Level-4 restrictions. However, the Cape Chamber of Commerce says this is not enough.
In the video below, rural businesses face uncertain future:
The Chamber says the biggest threat to the economy is not only COVID-19, but a bankrupt country. Jacobs says the Level-4 restrictions on businesses will strangle them out of existence.
“I was saying the position of the Chamber is that we’d like to shift the onus away from government to set parametres, and get business to apply their own minds as to putting the necessary protocols in place, whether the health protocols, the PPE equipment is available, and if sanitation is happening, then we want business to actually regulate how far they go and how they open up their business to the public.”
Feeling the pinch
Goody’s Fast Foods in Ndabeni, just outside Cape Town, has been operating for the past 22 years.
Owner Nick Caldies says his fast-food business of takeaways and 30 table sit-down is suffering. They can only operate for deliveries.
“Business has been okay except for this period. I suppose everybody’s the same, and today we’re trying to revive the business by doing deliveries only, and hopefully it’s going to pick up slowly. So far, it doesn’t look very bright, but we just got to carry on.”
At the nearby Pinelands Hardware Store, which is in the category of businesses that have also just been allowed to trade, business is slow.
Manager Shahied Biemans says business is operating at between 30 and 40% capacity. “We need to survive, at the same time we need to be safe. So we do a lot of hand sanitising as people come in and as they go out, that is important. We try to keep it hygienic because, look, we have spaces here, a metre distance between each other if there are any queues, but at the moment it is quite.”
The Cape Chamber of Commerce has however welcomed the easing of restrictions to Level-4.
Below is a graphic of the Level-4 lockdown regulations: