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‘More domestic trade savvy’ needed

It is up to us to make this work, says local businessman Clinton Lerm.

Lerm emphasises that this is a time of solidarity. “We do not know if this will last and it might take businesses time to adjust and recover.”

According to Lerm, Hermanus is very much dependent on foreign trade, therefor “we need to get more domestic trade savvy”.

Gideon Serfontein, chairperson of the Hermanus Business Chamber (HBC), says its members note the progressive measures that are in place to control the spread of the Coronavirus.

“We were anticipating further measures and as harmful as they are and will be to economic growth, they are temporary if people cooperate. The temporary measures will hopefully only last 21 days, which is insignificant if compared to the rest of our lives.”

Serfontein says the HBC encourages businesses to support the announced measures. “For those who have to close their businesses, we encourage them to do so responsibly and those who are requested to remain open, we also encourage them to assist in the spirit of what South Africa needs right now, namely stability and direction.

“We welcome the high level measures to support smaller and medium businesses. The details of many still need to be formulated and published, however, it is encouraging to note that the difficult trading circumstances are as a minimum acknowledged by stakeholders.

“We are impressed with and appreciative of the leadership shown by the President and most of the political leaders in the handling of the current pandemic in South Africa.”

Frieda Lloyd, Cape Whale Coast Manager, explains that for the past few weeks the region’s tourism industry operated within an uncertain framework with only one certain reality, “our tourism industry has imploded with that of the rest of the world”.

She, however, says that local entrepreneurs responded quickly and with great creativity in changing the way they did business and working through this difficult time.

Lloyd says this ingenuity will be tested during the next few months. “It’s up to us to work together on a recovery plan.”

Lloyd adds that the Overstrand tourism visitor information centres will be closed during this time, but the tourism managers will be available on their mobiles and via email. Visit www.whalecoast.info for more details.

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