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Businesses gear up for next level lockdown


Nodumo Makaza

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent announcement that most of the country may move to Level 3 lockdown; Joburg businesses say they have taken necessary measures anticipating the next level. 

  “We will begin the process of consultation with relevant stakeholders on the proposal that by the end of May most of the country be placed on alert Level 3, but those parts of the country with the highest rates of infection will remain on Level 4,” Ramaphosa said.

  James Rossouw, manager of Siesta butchery in Twist Street in the Joburg CBD, says they are gearing up to the expected Level 3; hence they are practicing safety measures as required by the Department of Employment and Labour.

  “Moving to Level 3 will mean more business for us, as many people will be able to work and have money to spend. In Level 4 our business was not fully operational, and most of our workers are still at home. We are however working hard to make sure that safety measures are practiced,” Rossouw said.

  He said they check every employee’s temperature every morning before they start working, as a way of identifying employees who might have Covid-19 symptoms.

  “We provide employees with face masks and disinfect the whole butchery two times daily, in the morning and before we knock off. Customers’ hands are sanitised at the entrance, and we don’t allow anyone inside if they don’t have a mask on. A lot has changed in the way we run the business, and we only allow one person at a time at the tills” he said.

  Sboniso Manqele, owner of Auto Body Parts in the CBD says he is worried for his employees if the lockdown was to continue.

  “Business is very slow; we only make money to be able to keep us going. I am not able to pay all my workers but I’m optimistic that if we move to Level 3 our business will slowly go back to normal. I have already ordered face masks for all my employees and I’m also opening up space inside the shop so that they can practice social distancing when they resume work,” he said.

  The Department of Employment and Labour has expressed concern on the non-compliance level of businesses during Level 4 of lockdown.

  The department’s inspector-general Aggy Moiloa said: “From 30 April to 12 May we conducted over 3 094 inspections, of which 461 are in the public sector and the rest in the private sector. The overall compliance rate was at 56% with 44% non-compliance.”

  Level 3 lockdown, which involves easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities to address a high risk transmission, is expected to allow more businesses to operate, providing a much needed boost to the economy.