Monthly expenses remain, regardless of whether an establishment is open or closed.
’Twas the stroke of midnight on Monday when South Africa’s tentative steps towards economic recovery were hobbled as the country was placed on an adjusted Level 3 lockdown following an alarming record of new infections as the second wave of Covid-19 hit.
Donavan van der Bank, a bartender in Krugers Pub in Pretoria, said the adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations affected his work and income.
“Unfortunately, I work in a pub and grill, so 75% of my income has again been taken away due to the regulations,” Van der Bank said.
“Now, I sit on my behind and do nothing. Less business means less pay.”
Van der Bank said this two-week shutdown will mean he will either fall behind with rent, or not be able to pay his cellphone instalment.
He said was left feeling very negative following the news of the lockdown being extended and him not being able to work.
“Do you know how much money in tips I am losing in two weeks? On average, I take home between R300 to R400 a day, which is roughly R5000 I will lose over this period,” he said.
“This is really not nice. I wish they would think about the people who lose money due to the lockdown.”
Danie Toerien, co-owner of the family restaurant, Die Boomhuisie in Krugersdorp, said the biggest problem was that there were a number of monthly expenses that remain, regardless of whether restaurants were open or not.
“These include insurance premiums, security bills, point-of-sale software and computers, property tax, phone lines … the list goes on,” Toerien said.
“We have found service providers in the private sector have been breaking their backs to help us small business owners. They have offered reduced rates and payment holidays and have come up with numerous innovative ways to help lighten our burden.”
Toerien said government had seemingly made it their mission to kill small businesses.
“A small family restaurant like ours, for example, pays more than R6000 per month just for commercial property tax, sewerage and refuse removal.
“I have written to the Mogale City municipal manager begging for a rebate or financial assistance for small businesses. Nobody even acknowledged receipt of my e-mail.”
Toerien said there was absolutely no help from the ANC local council.
“The only correspondence we have received from the ANC municipality since the start of the lockdown in March this year is a monthly final demand for payment of services as we try to juggle our ever-diminishing cash flow to at least pay the staff,” Toerien said.
TJ Bryant, owner of Railways in Centurion, said level 3 had put them in a difficult position.
“It is very disappointing. It is a Catch-22 situation – caring about keeping people safe versus keeping people fed.”
Bryant said in the five months they were not allowed to operate, they saw what hungry people looked like and how hungry people acted.
“It is something I never want to experience again.”
Bryant said their business employed 33 people and fed 133 mouths, excluding the musicians who play at the venue.
“It is very disappointing. I suppose there is no right or wrong way, but the question is: is hunger easier to fight or the virus?”
Andries Bruyns, owner of the Klitsgras Drumming Circle east of Pretoria, said his venue closed over December, but it is still unfortunate for the other businesses that usually boom around this time.
“It’s a mess because it is with the alcohol that people make money,” he said.
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