The final details of the new activities that will be permitted when the lockdown is slightly eased under Level 4, will only be announced later this week (probably on Thursday). This is in order for the public comment process to be finalised.

On Saturday, April 25th, a draft document was published, outlining the five phases/levels in which economic and personal activities will be allowed, based on certain risk-assessment criteria. Public comment on the proposals were invited until noon on Monday 27th and this is now being considered by the Covid-19 National Command Council (NCC). We’ll send out a newsletter and publish the finalised regulations on this blog once they become available – please supply emails of company members or staff who wish to receive updates, but are not currently on our database.

Until midnight Thursday 30 April, everybody must still operate under the strictest regulations on Level 5, but a slight easing of movement and trading starts on May 1 when we enter Level 4. There is no indication how long we will stay on each level until we reach Level 1, which permits most economic and personal movement activities, but ministers repeatedly warned that we will revert to a previous, stricter, level if companies and their customers do not comply with the regulations for a specific level.

Be warned: the relaxing of restrictions can take a long time as Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who heads the Cabinet Economic Cluster, says Government only expects the pandemic to peak in September. She warns of at least six months of restrictions of movement and doing business.

Sports Trader had made submissions (See Submission on behalf of sport and outdoor SMMEs ), based on the Industry responses to lockdown we received from you to the questions we asked the industry last week in our survey: Do you want us to petition for lockdown relief?, as well as questions that arose from the Risk-assessment draft document. We especially emphasised the risk of closure faced by the many micro enterprises in the industry (fewer than 10 employees) and Minister of Labour and Employment Thulas Nxesi said on Monday that they were looking at the possibility of allowing these small businesses to open.

SAFTAD/SACRAA had also submitted proposals on behalf of recreational fishing (see article). Like them, Sports Trader also questioned whether the retail and wholesale supply sale of equipment (especially those requiring frequent replenishment) will be allowed for “all fishing” as well as “hunting”, which the draft document says may open: Section A1: All agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing and related services, including the export of agricultural products permitted.

Several other companies in the industry also made submissions.

Of great concern to members of the industry are the type of exercise and outdoor activities that will be permitted – which government will only reveal on Thursday. According to the draft document organised team sport and activities and the use of recreational facilities and gyms will not be allowed under Level 4. Several companies (including Sports Trader) asked that activities that allow for social distancing (e.g. walking, hiking, surfing, diving, golf, cycling and recreational fishing) be permitted under Level 4.

When, and how, schools will reopen, will also only be announced later.

Who may open?

According to the draft document retailers and wholesalers (distributors) supplying the following industry-relevant products may trade on Level 4:

  • Face masks in abundance – as every person venturing outside their homes from May 1 will have to wear a cloth mask. Also, the supply of textiles required to produce face masks, and other personal protective equipment, are permitted.
    Proudly SA has an online site where retailers and corporate companies can order in bulk, see here. Companies who wish to register their face masks, can register here, but must be accredited by the Clothing Bargaining Council for PPE manufacturing (apply here).
  • Hand sanitisers, disinfectants and soaps (see below what sanitising measures every business must undertake when opening).
  • Winter clothing and bedding.
  • Children’s clothing.
  • Fuel and lighting, including coal, wood, paraffin and gas.

(Sports Trader also asked that comfortable footwear, home exercise equipment, schoolwear, and exercise clothing be sold.)

Manufacturing:

  • Manufacture of retail products permitted to be sold under Level Four, and all input products, permitted scaling up to full employment, except where otherwise indicated.
  • Manufacture of winter clothing, bedding and heaters (and all inputs required), commencing at 25% and scaling up to 50% employment.
  • Manufacture of packaging, including glass, plastic bottles and containers, permitted scaling up to full employment.
  • All other manufacturing, scaling up to 20% employment.

(Sports Trader enquired if protective footwear and clothing worn by factory workers may be manufactured and supplied.)

Supply chains:

  • Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of permitted services, including components and equipment.

Courier services will, however, only be allowed from Level 3.

Transport, storage and communication services:

  • Transport and logistics in respect of specified cargo, and permitted retail goods to neighbouring countries, which shall include all goods imported via SA ports of entry, for re-export to neighbouring countries.
  • Essential imported goods will be prioritised through ports of entry and for transport and handling to final users. Directions will be issued in respect of other goods.
  • Ocean and air transport permitted only for the shipment of cargo.

Sports Trader did raise industry concerns about storage costs charged on goods by port authorities.

How to start working

Although the final regulations are still to be published, there are certain measures that businesses who would be allowed to open can start implementing.

  • You can register as an essential business service with CIPC here – it is a simple process of submitting the online form and downloading a certificate.
  • As far as possible, staff must be encouraged to work from home.
  • To ensure a safe working environment, all businesses must ensure sufficient ventilation and, where necessary, install air filters.
  • Minimise contact between workers and customers as far as possible, and rotate workers to ensure that there is sufficient social distancing.
  • All businesses must provide PPE for workers and customers – e.g. disposable towels, refuse bins, hand sanitisers and disinfectants in rest rooms – as well as face shields/masks, aprons, hair and shoe covers and overalls, where appropriate.
  • Occupational Health and Safety directions must be instituted for workers to minimise the risk of infection, e.g. the health (e.g. temperatures) of workers must be screened daily and those showing signs of illness or flu sent for testing and requested to stay at home.
  • Stores must ensure that
    • There is temperature screening of patrons upon entry, that they have hand sanitisers available to apply to all patrons upon entry and have implemented measures to facilitate social distancing of 2m between all people.
    • All customers and staff members must wear masks – many grocery stores have erected transparent perspex shields at all till points.
    • Reduce the use of fingerprint and other biometrics that requires touching as far as possible and sanitise trolleys after use.
    • “Where the number of customers cannot be accommodated at once then measures, such as a ticket system and defined limit of time in the store per customer, should be implemented instead of the physical queuing of customers.”
  • Curfews will be implemented between 5am and 8pm.

How may we help you?

  • Sports Trader will publish regular updates of benefits for businesses and new regulations on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Readership is free of charge. If you wish to be alerted of new posts as they happen, please click here for our blog, or Facebook or Twitter. To add additional company members, email Carin Hardisty.
  • If you wish to advertise products you supply to retailers via our website, blog or newsletter, please contact Nicol du Toit. To be fair to all the thousand-odd suppliers in the industry who may wish to promote their products to retailers, we will charge a modest fee for advertorials/adverts on our blog and in the newsletter.
  • If you have no online presence, but wish to alert potential customers to what you supply, we can assist you with the design of an online blog, a catalogue of products, online leaflets to customers, or Facebook page. Please note, this will enable you to showcase products and supply contact detail for orders, but will not be a proper online Ecommerce sales site. Contact Carin Hardisty for details and costs.