It is time, the government needs to start opening businesses. I get it, COVID-19 is a threat, I have been there, and I had it at the worse possible level. But looking at my own business and looking at my hometown Melville I am seriously getting concerned.
Let’s look at the reality, an established restaurant or small business would have enough revenue to bankroll them for three months with a reduced income to cover expenses and salaries. COVID-19 forced these businesses to close down, and some are still not open. But just in Melville, more than 60% of the smaller shops have closed down. Partly due to the business being newly established but mostly due to the restrictions imposed.
If you take into account that 51% of the government’s income is from alcohol, I have to raise an eyebrow. In 2019 SAB contributed 12.5Bn in sin tax, it seems that we have a bit of a problem recovering from this recession. You may think that businesses can apply for COVID-19 Relief, but why would you want a business to go even further into debt when they are already struggling. Just even asking for this funding is a nightmare and banks are still charging interest as well on the sums of money you borrow. But this still does not help the 300 000 employees that work in this industry. In the next couple of months, things will be getting even more real when people can not pay their bonds, the credit cards that they have been living off. If larger corporates are now laying off staff, you know that restaurants, bars and small businesses are hanging by a thread.
International news has already stated that COVID-19 will keep impacting our daily lives until there is a viable vaccination. You can not lockup a whole country until this happens. I see plenty of losers, families, managers, bosses and businesses and only one winner criminals. One needs to only look back to USA history in the 1930s, when alcohol was banned, leading to the rise and stronghold of the mafia owning the liquor industry in most US cities.
After all, we are adults, and we do not need to be treated like children. As long as businesses are adhering to COVID-19 regulations, it is time for business to start fully operating again. President Ramaposa, please don’t kill South Africa’s Economy.
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