Good news for jobs, and SME sector

Regulations must seek to meet, as far as possible, the needs of small businesses whose make-up requires assistance in order to be compliant, the writer says.
Regulations must seek to meet, as far as possible, the needs of small businesses whose make-up requires assistance in order to be compliant, the writer says.
Image: 123RF

Finally, some good news. You can now get your hair cut or your nails done at your favourite pampering spot.

After three months of lockdown restrictions, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced further easing of regulations which allow for economic activity in various sectors.

These include restaurants for sit-down meals, accommodation establishments, casinos and personal care services including hairdressers and beauty parlours.

The decision came following immense pressure from these industries for the government to allow them to resume trading.

Speaking on Cape Talk yesterday, Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurant Association of SA, said: "It was a very emotional evening for our restaurants last night. They were very grateful for the embracing of the industry opening."

About 800,000 people are estimated to be employed in this industry. A further 90,000 people are estimated to work in the hair and beauty sector.

These figures, even at conservative estimates, demonstrate the far-reaching economic impact of the lockdown on these businesses, their employees and families.

Therefore, the decision to reopen these sectors, particularly when weighed up against the minimal effectiveness of keeping a lockdown in place, is welcome.

It is commendable that many establishments have strict protocols in place to adhere to social distancing and hygiene regulations.

Naturally, those which are better resourced are likely to have the means to put in place new operational systems designed to limit unprotected contact.

However, those offering such services informally, may prove to be limited in their ability to do so, even though their reach may extend to a significant number of people.

This is why the government has to strengthen its monitoring capacity, one that is designed to assist emerging businesses to comply rather than to simply criminalise them.

The responsibility to balance the economic needs of the country as well as to minimise the health risk must go beyond the policing and enforcement.

Regulations must seek to meet, as far as possible, the needs of small businesses whose make-up requires assistance in order to be compliant.

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