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Adverse effect on economy

It is foreseen that businesses and the tourism industry in the Overstrand will be facing a tough time due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Clinton Lerm of the Whale Coast Business and Community Forum says businesses, especially those in the tourism industry, are feeling the effects of Covid-19.

He said: “We are trying to assist our members through this tough time and are trying to assist business and advise them on labour laws, cutting hours and much more.

A lot of hotels and restaurants are cutting down on staff shifts, reducing hours. We, however, believe that now is the time for businesses to see how everybody can take hands and support each other through this difficult time.”

Lerm added that everyone is currently living in uncertain times as nobody knows whether it will be weeks or months until we see any elevation in this current scenario. “We need to regroup and see how we can take this town forward.”

According to Frieda Lloyd, Cape Whale Coast Tourism manager, the Overstrand has seen a lot of event cancellations in just a few days. “This means less visitors and feet within the Overstrand which has a big impact within the tourism industry,” she says.

Lloyd says the community should stand together and ideas are welcomed as to what to do for the future.

Gideon Serfontein, chairperson of the Hermanus Business Chamber, says they are concerned about the current State of Disaster announced on Sunday in South Africa. “Our members are still assessing the short term operational impact on our businesses and will only in due course have a better understanding of the longer term financial impact. Needless to say it can only be severe and life changing.”

Serfontein says their immediate reaction can only be to cooperate with the authorities and stakeholders to minimise the affect of the pandemic on society. “We therefore encourage our members to assist with the existing and potentially new measures as the situation develops.

He adds that this is the time to be calm and show collective leadership in businesses by actively being good corporate citizens. “The HBC therefore calls on our members to conform to our Code of Ethics and in the short term (while we have to wait and see how the situation develops further) focus on the following values:

1. Comply with and actively support, where possible, the measures implemented by the relevant authorities to deal with the Corona virus.

2. Protect the interest of employees and assist them and their families to stay healthy.

3. Maintain good relations with suppliers and keep the business processes active. We need to help each other in providing as much support for as long as we can.

4. Look after our customers and their needs. Buy local when possible and support those businesses in town, and

5. Avoid spreading unfounded and unsubstantiated information about the pandemic. We need to at all times keep an objective perspective on these matters and continue with our lives as much as we can.

“This is indeed an unprecedented situation and our chances to get through this are much better together than on our own.”

Jacquie Rathfelder, founder of Just Care Aftercare Centre, says South Africans should remain positive and “think out of the box” to find solutions to address the effects of the pandemic on society.

“We have to think out of the box to find solutions that can turn this into our favour. Importing of goods from China has stopped so locals should find ways to make what we need to replace those products. This could be the opportunity to show what South Africa can do in the face of adversity.”

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