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Northern Cape businesses warned not to let guard down

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“Just because we are now on Level 1 does not mean that we are no longer in a pandemic”

File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

BUSINESSES in the Northern Cape have been warned not to let their guard down now that lockdown restrictions have been moved to Level 1.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday evening that the country would be moving lockdown alert Level 1, which will see the reopening of more industries.

The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) and the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci) on Monday urged business to continue to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations.

The acting chairperson of Nafcoc, Abraham Malo, said businesses should utilise this opportunity to rebuild.

“More businesses are now able to operate longer hours and on more days, now that the country has moved to Level 1. This is wonderful, as this lockdown left many businesses crippled. This (the move to Level 1) will have a huge impact, especially on the tourism and liquor industries, which have been hard hit by the lockdown. Business owners are now afforded time to revive their businesses and to try to get back financially … They will, however, have to remain obedient to the regulations in order not to be placed back on Level 3,” said Malo.

He advised business owners to seek financial assistance if they are having financial difficulties.

“There are many businesses who have lost revenue during the lockdown and other businesses even had to close their doors permanently. Those businesses that are able to still operate should seek assistance from financial institutions if they are having financial problems,” he said.

The CEO of Nocci, Sharon Steyn, also warned that local businesses must ensure that they adhere to the Covid regulations.

“This was a good decision by the president to open more industries. However, we must not relax now that we can operate for longer hours. We have to continue to adhere to the regulations, especially since there are reports of another Covid-19 wave,” said Steyn.

“This announcement is wonderful news for tourism and the liquor industry. This must serve as an opportunity to push on.”

Steyn added that this is an opportunity for businesses to start to rebuild.

“It will take time for many businesses to recuperate financially but this is a starting point to put in the work. The vaccine roll-out will also assist in the fight against the virus and enable the levels to be loosened. The responsibility still remains on the businesses to ensure they adhere to the regulations and also encourage their clients to respect the imposed regulations. Just because we are now on Level 1 does not mean that we are no longer in a pandemic,” she said.