Labour federations, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) in the North West, have welcomed new measures to curb the further spread of the coronavirus.

But they say the banning of the sale of alcohol will affect the livelihood of business owners and employees.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Cabinet decided to move the country to adjusted Alert Level 4.

Prof Salim Abdool Karim on lockdown Level 4:

This includes a ban on alcohol sales and gatherings. Funerals with 50 people attending are allowed.

Cosatu’s provincial secretary Kopano Konopi says, “Our biggest concern [is that] this decision is going to affect the livelihood of people who are working in the liquor industry. [People] will lose their income and those who are working in restaurants will also lose their income.”

“This might lead to some of the businesses that are in the same industry closing down and not being able to open up after 14 days. Our biggest concern is to say that the lockdown does not sustain the livelihood and it has a big effect in terms of the jobs and workers,” explains Konopi.

Meanwhile, local business owners in Mahikeng say they are going to feel the pinch but adds that it is important to save the lives of their customers and employees.

One of the business owners selling food and beverages, Jeff Monnakgotla says, “We have to look at the impact alcohol has in the spread of the virus and the loss of life. How many staff members have tested positive, how many staff members have lost family members. So we cannot equate the loss of income to the life of a human being.”

“As such it is convenience that we are willing and keen to deal with [the virus] because we are better prepared the third time around. We know that in four to six week’s time we will be back in the game again,” adds Monnakgotla.

SA businesses react to Level 4 lockdown: Martin Kingston