UIF/TERS support needs to be extended to the Garden Route and other hotspots
There is no doubt that the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday 14 December that the Garden Route District would be declared a hotspot and that alongside this, all beaches would be closed in the Garden Route for the festive season will deal a devastating blow to the economy of the district which is heavily reliant on tourism for its survival.
We are opposed to the closure of any of the Western Cape’s beaches, as was made clear in our consultations with national government, and Premier Alan Winde and the Garden Route District are challenging this decision.
The Western Cape government has focused on getting the balance right between preventing the spread of Covid-19 while keeping the economy as open as possible, saving both lives and livelihoods.
This decision by the President fails to get this balance right, especially given the scientific advice that outdoor places with good ventilation are safer.
The Garden Route District had a GDP of R 62.2 billion in 2019 and contributed 9.04% to the Western Cape Province GDP and 1.22% to the GDP of South Africa in 2019. There are an estimated 10 000 businesses in the Garden Route. All these businesses will be negatively impacted by the additional restrictions including the curfew and the full beach closure.
The festive season is a critical moment for economic recovery, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors, which will now not be possible in the Garden Route District. And so, as with previous lockdown restrictions, where businesses are compromised by additional restrictions, we need to ensure that they are given necessary support from government.
And that is why, I have today (17 December 2020) written to the National Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, to request that national government extend the UIF/TERS relief to businesses and employees operating in the Garden Route District and other hotspots, for the duration of time that the additional restrictions apply to them. The Covid-19 TERS Relief Scheme was established to assist employees who lost income due to the Coronavirus and the regulations limiting economic activity during the various levels of the lockdown.
I have also requested that her department consider any additional relief measures that can be provided to these businesses. Without this support we fear that livelihoods of thousands of people will be in jeopardy.
Listen to soundbyte from Minister David Maynier:
Head of Ministry for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 4218
Cell: 072 504 3032
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