Yesterday (12 May 2020), together with the Deputy Mayor of Witzenberg, Karriem Adams. I visited retail stores in Ceres, Witzenberg, one of the current Covid-19 hotspots in the Western Cape. I was very impressed with what I saw. Businesses have implemented a number of measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 and ensure the safety of customers and staff.
I saw the regular use of hand sanitiser throughout the store, the use of perspex screens and the limiting of people in-store to ensure social distancing, amongst many other initiatives. One of the challenges is to better manage peak periods, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays. A potential solution would be to stagger the pay-day for those living in the area, which we will discuss with organised business in the area.
Alert Level 4 means that many more businesses are allowed to open, and many more people can go back to work, but it is critical that they do so safely and responsibly.
We have also produced a range of information material for employers and their staff to utilise in the workplace such as posters, checklists and decals, that remind people of health guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19. I took the opportunity to share some of these with the businesses I visited today, but they can also be downloaded on the Covid-19 website: coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/resources
Finally, this week, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism launched an online form where members of the public can submit any complaints against businesses not complying with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. If you believe that a business is not following the health guidelines in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, you can report it using this online form: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-business-safety-complaint-form
To avoid a return to a hard lockdown, it is imperative that every business that is operating now, or which opens under the Alert Level restrictions, plays by the rules, and implements the necessary health and safety measures as instructed by national government to avoid further negative impacts on their respective sector.
Now, more than ever, we need to work together to ensure businesses trade safely and responsibly so that we can save jobs, livelihoods and the economy during the Covid-19 crisis.