Business booms for cleaning companies as pandemic spreads

Cleaning firms are among those providing an essential service during the coronavirus lockdown.
Cleaning firms are among those providing an essential service during the coronavirus lockdown.
Image: Supplied

As scores of South Africans entered day one of lockdown on Friday this was not the case for cleaning and hygiene companies providing an essential service.

McMillan Masoka, owner of Basani Cleaners, and his employees were up and about providing deep-cleaning services to schools, office parks and in residential areas in preparation for life during and after the coronavirus lockdown.

“Just before the lockdown, business had really boomed,” Masoka said.

With Friday the first day of lockdown, he explained that there were some glitches entering their first residential estate where they had been hired to provide deep-cleaning.

Workers of Basani Cleaners disinfecting a classroom.
Workers of Basani Cleaners disinfecting a classroom.
Image: Supplied

“Unfortunately, there are some estates on lockdown where, even though we have been asked to come in to clean houses, we cannot go in even with permits. But right now, we are off to do another house in Bryanston,” he said.

Masoka said so far they had not had much trouble, but would “learn as we go”.

“We are learning as we go as to how this lockdown will affect us but, for example, some of my guys went to our storage facility to get some more of the equipment we needed but they were not allowed in. It will be interesting going forward,” he said.

The company employs 15 permanent employees and 20 part-time workers.

Masoka said though the coronavirus was an unfortunate epidemic, he was thankful to still be able to pay his employees.

Moving from complex to complex and business to business, ensuring that everything is wiped down and disinfected, Masoka said he was worried about the things he saw, particularly at residential estates.

“We go to all these estates and we realise that security guards are not given proper protective clothing. I have been giving gloves to security guards,” he said.

The guards are the first to come into contact with residents and visitors.

“One guard said they were given one pair of gloves and one mask. They were told they need to use it for a week. But you cannot use surgical gloves twice. It’s just like using the same condom twice,” he said.

Various rules and regulations have been given to tenants living in security estates.

SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE saw several of these notices issued to tenants in Johannesburg complexes.

Some of the new rules stipulated that visitors should not buzz themselves in and out but allow security officers stationed at the gate to do so.

The registers signed upon entry would also only be handled by the security guards.

Children were barred from the playgrounds.

Masoka said at some complexes biometric pads and keypads were still being used.

“At one complex, I refused to use my finger at the gate because everyone was touching it and there were no sanitisers offered,” he said.

“I worry about my staff but we are making sure that we have the right equipment and protective gear. Doing this, I realise how important our work is,” he said.

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