Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations

Level 3 guidelines

The JCSA presented a webinar on Wednesday 27 May with guest Dr Ivor Blumenthal of the South African Independent Tenants Association where the below points were outlined. As all manufacturing jewellers, wholesalers and retailers are permitted to return to work from 1 June 2020, kindly take note of the following:

There will be a 4-Stage re-introduction period. It is Dr Blumenthal’s interpretation that no essential permit is needed for Level 3. He is expecting 6-12 months before retailer’s sales and turnover will be back to normal. Try to limit expenses during this recovery period and negotiate deferred payment with suppliers and landlords on the grounds you are in a recovery period.

STAGE 1 – CLEANING / SIGNAGE PHASE:

  • Posters outlining protocols must be visible.
  • Staff must wear cloth (not paper) masks, as well as gloves when handling product and touching counter tops. This will extend through all stages of reopening and dealing with customers.
  • Social distancing must be strictly followed. Have a queuing system and mark the floors to indicate minimum spaces between people.
  • You must have a thermometer to screen everyone who enters the premises. There is no regulation on type or make of thermometer to use.
  • Standard operating protocol must be communicated to staff.
  • Business owners must engage with landlords on their standard operating protocol and know that one must contact NICD if any visitors are suspected of being infected with COVID-19.
  • Government will deploy roving inspectors to enforce these regulations, and inspectors can issue spot fines. It’s recommended that you appeal if this happens, because the owner of the business can get a criminal record.

 

STAGES 2-4 –START BRINGING STAFF BACK

  • If you have 10 staff or less, everyone can return at once. If more than 10, bring them back 30% at a time.
  • Train staff on your standard operating protocol. Video this training as proof, and video customers adhering to your protocol as proof.
  • Inform your landlord that you could have queues outside the door if you rent in a shopping centre
  • Businesses need to cover themselves against CCMA claims. If you need to temporarily lay off staff, issue them with a letter stating when they might be able to return to work. Likewise is you need to institute shifts or short time, staff must be informed in writing especially if they are being paid only a portion of their salary.
  • Staff can be encouraged in writing to apply for loss of income with UIF, and only they can apply, not the employer. As an employer you can only apply for Temporary Employee Relief.
  • Retail shop owners are obliged in their standard operating protocols to state how many customers will be allowed in at a time and that excess must wait in a line/queue outside.
  • The standard is that two people can’t walk in together at a time, however the DTI may be approached by the JCSA to grant an exception to this ruling.
  • Over 60’s and the ill are encouraged to work from home. Owners are entitled to make them stay at home even if they can’t work from home, and the worst-case scenario is for them to stay home without pay. If an employee contests this, the employer is within their rights to retrench the employee permanently.
  • If you place sanitising booths outside your entrance, make sure it’s simple and do not use non-alcoholic sanitizer as it destroys clothing and dissipates too quickly. Try rent rather than buy and put your branding on them. A minimum of 10 nozzles is recommended. (And please do your research carefully on whether this is a safe or effective option).
  • If you are going to use a demister in your shop ensure it is not non-alcoholic.
  • Check with your insurance about whether customers who refuse to be exposed to alcohol are a risk to you.
  • If you hire a sanitizer company to clean your premises, bear in mind that this is an extra precautionary step but no guarantee that the virus won’t be transmitted within your premises.

 

RETAILERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE:

  • The moment you open your doors on Monday you accept the latest agreement or offer from your landlord or managing agent. So email your landlord or managing agent before Monday stating that even if you won’t change the agreement to a % of turnover agreement, the rate needs to be reduced due to a lack of customer traffic in the centre. All centres promise a certain amount of traffic and if they cannot uphold this they are in breach of contact. If you don’t send this communication before Monday and open your doors, you are obliged to comply with the current rental agreement.
  • There is no law that allows cancellation notice to get out of your lease, however if your business turnover is less than R2 million, the Consumer Protection Act allows an average penalty cost.
  • If you have been operating online during lockdown under the same name as your company your business is deemed to have been in trade all along and landlords will look to enforce full lease payments for April. So ensure that your online retail trade is separate from your businesses identity.

 

The JCSA has added a standard operating protocol template and other useful resources to their website. You can find out more about SAITA here.

CPM wishes all our clients the strength and fortitude to get through these very difficult and uncertain times.

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