Small business owners hit hard as coronavirus restrictions bite

A customer at a Pep store wearing a protective face mask to protect herself from the coronavirus which has spread to more than 60 people in the country. /Thulani Mbele
A customer at a Pep store wearing a protective face mask to protect herself from the coronavirus which has spread to more than 60 people in the country. /Thulani Mbele

Small business owners are already feeling the pinch as coronavirus cases rise in the country.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, entrepreneurs and business people said they were worried that Covid-19 would lead to the unemployment rate increasing in SA.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

As a result, Ramaphosa said gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited and to limit contact between persons who may be infected.

Celebrity photographer Sipho Maluka said the situation was bad as he was one of the photographers booked for the now cancelled Bebe Winans concert.

"Clients are cancelling events and some events are getting postponed. This will affect us financially because this is how we survive.

"I was booked for an overseas event and it was postponed last week for this week but I don't know what will happen as the president has imposed a travel ban.

"My sister, we are frustrated but we know this is something that we cannot avoid or run away from," Maluka said.

Another photographer, Nontokozo Nkabinde, said things were not looking good.

"It's tough sis, we don't know how we will survive this one. The most stressing part is that we don't know when our businesses will go back to normal," she said.

Khumbulani Ndlovu, a freelance unit assistant in filming locations and logistics, said he has been at home for two weeks.

"Our clients are mostly from overseas and unfortunately they can't travel any more.

"I have three jobs that were cancelled in a period of less than a week.

"We have families to take care of but there is no business for us. It feels like the industry is shutting down," he said.

Business people in the catering industry are also feeling the pressure from coronavirus.

Chef Pule Matlhakoane said people were panicking and as a result the majority of events were being cancelled.

"The food industry doesn't have a lot of money and we depend on massive events for catering but those have been cancelled.

"I have seen a panic in people as they have started buying food so there can be enough in their houses for them to stop coming to restaurants.

"This will affect employees because nobody is ready to pay a full salary if people are not working.

"This is just a disaster that will leave a lot of people jobless," Matlhakoane said.

Lorraine Maupa, a manager at Nakedi Catering and Project CC, said the cancellation of orders will affect the payment of staff members.

"The business would suffer and there woull be no money to pay our staff members," she said.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X