Cape businesses fear negative impact of adjusted curfew hours
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Cape Town - There are fears that the recently announced curfew times would negatively impact on the thousands of jobs dependent on the tourism and hospitality sectors in the province.
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, 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 being 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 just or only an hour adjusted from the previous Level restriction.
"So far the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) 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, but while the first lockdown was devastating, this time it was a return to level 2, where they had been before.
Moolman said lessons have 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," said Moolman.
ANC provincial spokesperson for finance and economic opportunities Nomi Nkondlo said 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 to navigate this third wave far better than when it hit the first time," said Nkondlo.