As a City, we acknowledge there is a need for stricter restrictions to help curb the spread of new infections in the third wave. At the same time, harsher lockdowns must be balanced between the protection of lives and livelihoods. With this in mind, I echo the concerns by economic experts and business leaders of the impact that the latest lockdown restrictions will have on businesses that are already struggling. As the country has been moved to an adjusted Alert Level 4, the City will continue to support businesses where possible but also calls on National Government to rather consider a differentiated approach to restrictions, taking into account the different levels of risk in each province. Read more below:

Small businesses, which are the backbone of South Africa’s economy, cannot bear the brunt of these heavy restrictions. We already know that the number of liquidations between March last year and the same month this year shot up by 49%.

In particular, the tourism and hospitality sectors are on their knees. Now, the industries’ small businesses that provide goods and services and who depend on every patron and hour of trading, may see their waiters, cooks, cleaners, and thousands of others face renewed prospects of unemployment.

Instead, we must turn our collective energy to hastening the vaccine rollout while allowing businesses to trade freely under strict protocols. In fact, speeding up the vaccine rollout could be good for the economy, a study by Discovery Health’s Health Policy Unit, Business 4 SA and PwC has found.

In the past year, I have met business owners from across Cape Town who have made it their priority to comply with Covid-19 protocols. I’ve seen how much they have struggled and sacrificed and my heart goes out to them all.

While we await national government’s next steps, I urge businesses and entrepreneurs who are in need of support to use the resources available to them through the City. This includes:

I also want to urge each and every person to do what you can to help yourself, your loved ones, and all others.

Observe social distancing. Wear your mask when you go out. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser. Help your friends and family who are eligible for the vaccine to get registered and get the jab if they haven’t yet.

Also let’s do all we can to support our local businesses, whether that means ordering a pizza from the restaurant around the corner, or booking a stay at a guesthouse for later in the year. Every bit counts.

Let’s work together to help Cape Town and South Africa build back better!

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