Cape Town - Despite the new curfew announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, the Cape Town CBD has shown signs of recovery with businesses reporting an increase in foot traffic while facing a decreased risk of closure.
Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) chief executive Tasso Evangelinos said: “If we consider the country’s GDP in the third, versus second quarter, there is a noticeable recovery in terms of economic activity, and growth of 13.5 % quarter-on-quarter was recorded. This follows the pattern of easing the lockdown levels and the resultant increase of consumer and business confidence. From a Cape Town perspective, we have seen encouraging recovery off a steep contraction in the previous quarter when the economy was all but shut down during the initial hard lockdown.”
Evangelinos said the CCID had been conducting regular surveys with CBD businesses as part of its “Come Back To Town” initiative to reinvigorate the CBD’s economy.
Having surveyed more than 1 000 businesses between July and December, there were noteworthy gains across all categories, and business owners’ confidence that their businesses would survive improved. In July, only 22.6% said there was no risk of closure before year-end. By early November, encouragingly this had risen to nearly half (49.3%,) while a further 29.5% said there was only a “low” risk of closure by year-end. Business confidence levels saw gradual gains during the survey period, rising from 22.9% in July to 40% in early December.
The recovery comes after many businesses struggled to keep their doors open during the hard lockdown in March.
“While the second wave could affect this, for the time being there is an uptick in economic activity in the CBD, and we would urge our stakeholders and visitors alike to be responsible with regard to sticking strictly to Covid-19 safety protocols,” said Evangelinos.
Nude Foods’ Managing Director, Paul Rubin, reported an increase in foot traffic over the past few months.
“Since June business has started to pick up, and not just in our shop, but in the whole area that includes Harringtons and East City Cycles. We seem to have been less affected than other streets in the CBD, which is really positive.
“And this is despite us losing the office workers and tourist trade. We attribute this to the fact that people want to be healthy and Covid-19 has been a catalyst towards wellness and what we put into our bodies, so much so that our veggie boxes and free range eggs and organic goods are doing well, and many people are ordering online,” said Rubin.