Small Business Development Minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says spaza shops will be provided with assistance by government amid the pandemic. Spaza shops are exempt from the lockdown – along with grocery stores and pharmacies, which provide essential supplies to people. People will be allowed to go out and buy food and medicine. The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in South Africa has so far risen to 709, with two patients currently in ICU at private hospitals.
Minister Ntshavheni addressed the media in Pretoria. “Spaza shops are considered as part of the grocery stores that will provide facilities for our people to access their food or buy food from. We must indicate that those spaza shops that will be open are strictly those that are owned by South Africans, managed and run by South Africans. We are going to support the spaza shops in terms of bulk buying and we will indicate the mechanisms we will put in place for the shops. We are currently working with our municipalities to make sure that all the spaza shops that are licenced and unlicensed are brought to the fold and we will indicate the way forward with them later.”
Restaurants to close during lockdown
Meanwhile, the Restaurant Association says it has put a resource together to help restaurateurs seek financial assistance during the three-week lockdown.
The Tourism Ministry has confirmed that all restaurants will be closed during the lockdown and there will be no fast food delivery services.
Chief Executive Officer of the Restaurant Association, Wendy Alberts, says there will be relief funds for restaurants in distress.
“We understand that the industry’s challenges and concerns in financial aid so we’ve really put a toolkit together to assist the restaurants now to find their financial relief. There are a lot of relief funds available and we certainly do have these available for any of our restaurant association members and we will advise them on how they can access those funds and which funds they are eligible for.”