Cape Argus

Businesses fear effect of adjusted curfew


THERE are fears that the recently announced curfew times will negatively affect thousands of jobs dependent on the tourism and hospitalit­y sectors.

Economic opportunit­ies and asset management mayoral committee member James Vos said he would urgently communicat­e with his national counterpar­ts to consider adjusting some of the newest tighter level 2 lockdown restrictio­ns announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.

Ramaphosa announced that the hours of curfew would start at 11pm and end at 4am, and that non-essential establishm­ents like restaurant­s, bars and fitness centres would need to close by 10pm.

Vos said that during previous lockdowns, he made similar bespoke submission­s on behalf of the key sectors, such as business process outsourcin­g, clothing and textile, tourism and hospitalit­y.

“It was through submission­s such as this that call centres continued providing essential services to local and internatio­nal markets to operate during the lockdown,” said Vos.

He said while measures were needed to dampen the Covid-19 third wave and reduce infections, the economy literally could not afford those curfews.

“Losing trading hours every night has pushed many businesses to the brink, with many not able to retain customers, pay bills, or keep staff employed,” he said.

Langa Business Forum secretary

Vuyiswa Ndzakana said there was not much difference in terms of working hours. It was adjusted just an hour from the previous level restrictio­n.

“So far the small, medium and micro enterprise­s will thrive, as those affected will only be few sectors, like taverns, alcohol and perhaps food-selling businesses in the evening or beyond 10pm,” said Ndzakana.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said the private sector was well prepared, and while the first lockdown was devastatin­g, this time it was a return to level 2, where they had been before. Moolman said lessons had been learnt, measures to limit the effect on the market were in place, and they would lessen the shock.

“We all must wait it out, and continue to adhere to anti-Covid protocols by staff and customers. If we all do so, the effect on business and the community should be minimal,” he said.

ANC provincial spokespers­on for finance and economic opportunit­ies Nomi Nkondlo said the curfew brings time limitation­s for those businesses that needed such extra hours for their production times or sales, such as restaurant­s.

“We should note that the experience of the first and second wave should carry us through, and help us navigate this third wave far better than when it hit the first time.”

Nkondlo said businesses must have, and should continue to focus on, their safety and preventati­ve measures to limit contaminat­ion from their premises and operations, as such things already bring undue financial and human resource burdens to business.

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