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Business4SA offers to help source Covid vaccine, hospitality industry buckling under restrictions

29 December 2020 - 13:22 By TimesLIVE
Business4SA hopes the new restrictions on the economy will be for a short time only. File photo.
Business4SA hopes the new restrictions on the economy will be for a short time only. File photo.

Business4SA says it hopes the new restrictions on the economy will be for a short time frame only, as the government seeks to restrict the Covid surge, and has offered its help for vaccine procurement.

“While the amended restrictions and the extended curfew from 9pm to 6am, as well as the abolition of the sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol, are onerous and place additional and stringent demands on many businesses, B4SA is requesting all business owners to adhere to these adjusted restrictions in the interests of enhanced safety and our ultimate objective of saving lives,” the group said.

Its steering committee chairperson, Martin Kingston, encouraged the public to adhere to the Covid precautions.

He said B4SA felt it was critical to secure adequate supplies of Covid-19 vaccines for all those eligible in SA.

Said Kingston: “As business, we are in full support and we will do everything we can to ensure that access to vaccines is secured within the earliest possible time frame and made available to the majority of our adult population, with the immediate priority being for our front-line health workers and high-risk groups.

“As such, business has signalled its intent to government that we will do whatever is needed to ensure that the requisite vaccine supplies are secured and distributed as a matter of extreme urgency.”

The lack of vaccines has also been raised as a concern by the hospitality industry, which is battling with a continuation of restrictions on its members.

“Fedhasa [the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa] believes delays in expediting the rollout of the vaccination programme will put SA at a disadvantage when it comes to restoring international travel,” said its chairperson Rosemary Anderson.

“We need to bring SA in line with other countries that have already started this process so that the destination can be considered internationally viable. The rollout delay to the second quarter of 2021, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, will have a significant negative impact on our tourism and hospitality sector.”

Anderson expressed disappointment that the government is not reconsidering an extension of UIF Ters payouts, which she said would help save livelihoods in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“The adjusted level 3 regulations announced last night will have a detrimental impact on many hospitality businesses, as trading may no longer be financially viable for many of these.

“The adjusted regulations come at a time when many hospitality businesses were hoping to recoup some of the losses incurred during the [previous] Covid-19 lockdown. Once schools resume after January 15, that window of opportunity will be lost,” said Anderson.

The result of these new restrictions means that these businesses may feel compelled to halt trading during the next 18 days or reduce their workforce as a result of lower demand, she said.

“Fedhasa will continue to engage with government through the appropriate channels to highlight how the regulations impact the tourism and hospitality sector specifically and to lobby on behalf of its members for a trading environment that balances saving lives and livelihoods.”