Businesses have slow return to trade

Cape Town - 180920 - Producer and theater manager of the famous Theater on the Bay in Camps Bay, Pieter Toerien, stands in front of the theater as it is undergoing renovations. The theater is currently located in Link Road but there has been a request to rename the street to Theater Lane. Photographer: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Hairdressers and restaurants are preparing to reopen and soon it will also be back to business for cinemas
and theatres on the Atlantic Seaboard.

This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the amendments to the level 3 lockdown regulations last Wednesday. The amendments allow for the reopening of cinemas, theatres, hair salons, restaurants for sit-down meals.

He said following further discussions with industry representatives on stringent prevention protocols, and after advice from scientists and consultation with premiers, cabinet decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities.

These activities include restaurants for sit-down meals; accredited and licensed accommodation, with the exception of home sharing accommodation like Airbnb; conferences and meetings for business purposes and in line with restrictions on public gatherings; cinemas and theatres, to be aligned to limitations on the gathering of people; casinos; personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services; and non-contact sports such as golf, tennis, cricket and others. Contact sports will be allowed only for training and modified activities with restricted use of facilities.

In each instance, he said, specific and stringent safety requirements had been agreed on and will need to be put in place before a business can reopen, and protocols will need to be strictly adhered to for businesses to remain open.

He said the pandemic had severely disrupted the livelihoods of millions of people and businesses stopped operating when the nationwide lockdown came into effect in March, and had not been reopened under level 5 and 4 restrictions.

“These include large companies with many thousands of employees and many more smaller companies with just a handful of employees. This means that there are businesses that have not earned any revenue and individuals who have not had any income for over 80 days.

“Altogether, these industries employed over 500 000 people before the lockdown.

“We have had to think about these people and those who depend on them for their livelihoods.”

Regulations for the newly permitted operation of personal care services including hairdressing, beauty services and tattoo parlours were officially gazetted on Friday June 19.

The personal care services got the green light from the government to start operating from Saturday June 20.

The hair salons are expected to adhere to basic principles which include, hand-washing, physical distancing between customers and staff wherever possible, the use of cloth masks at all times, and more protective masks for close facial and cleaning and disinfecting of touch areas and equipment.

Yemaya hair salon in Sea Point said they were Covid-19 ready with all the protocols in place and looked forward to welcoming their clients. They officially opened on Monday with limited staff on duty.

Patronella Chidzo who works at one of the salons in Sea Point, said they were happy to be back at work after more than 80 days of having to get by on reduced salaries.

She said they opened on Monday and only had four to five clients a day.

“Clients do bookings and we have to follow the rules and protocols, I think most of our clients are not aware that we’ve opened or they are still worried. We will give it time,” she said.

Dean Roberts of Theatre on the Bay said they were still awaiting operational advice from the government regarding the protocols and practical limitations which would have to be in place when theatres were allowed to reopen. “Once we have this advice we can strategise,” he said.