It was a blue Monday for hospitality businesses across South Africa, some of which were fully booked within the legal limits ofthe Covid-19 restrictions until the country plunged into the latest dark Level 4 Lockdown.
Sica’s Guesthouse owner, Janus Horn, was just one of the small business ones that awoke to a ghost town his premises that should have been bustling with new guest arrivals this morning.
In his anger, disappointment and frustration, Horn posted a video on social media of his three acre guest-house which is now standing empty in Durban.
Watch the video here:
Under the latest Lockdown Level 4 which kicked in on Monday 28 July, restaurants have to close and may only serve take-away meals, while guest houses and hotels are allowed to have guests to 50% of capacity. However, this does not make business sense for hotels and guest houses, such as Sica’s, which have recently had to rely largely on conference and business training event bookings.
“We have worked so hard to keep jobs, to keep the doors open and to save costs wherever we can and do whatever we can but still be safe,” Horn said.
“This whole week we had conferences booked and all our accommodation is package deals, guests book accommodation in a 24 hour package, which includes conferences and meals,” he said.
“It is ridiculous because we have been adhering to all the protocols that have been put in place. We have limited numbers, we have turned away so many functions and events where the numbers are big and people don’t care but we have have not been prepared to do it. And no we sit with a situation. What do we do now?”
Horn said he had managed to bring “a large portion” of his staff back to work since the earlier hard lockdowns but those who had not returned to work, were still waiting for their UIF TERS payments since October 2020.
He said he had already bought food for the guests for the week, worked on meal preparation and staff had been arranged to work.
“Now we are shut down basically for 2 weeks. I can’t afford to have staff at work if we don’t have business. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like crying. My staff are like my family. My staff are here and now they are gong to go to the farm. They are going to go and sit on a taxi for three hours to travel to the farm. I wonder how many will get infected in the taxi,” he said.
Horn said it made no sense to pack 15 people into a 2 meter by 3 meter sizedminibus taxi yet forbid a small gathering of people in a 150m2 conference venue under hard lockdown.
“It is mind boggling, I don’t know how they are thinking. It is killing our industry. I don’t know if we are going to be able to survive. We haven’t received any payments from insurance. TERS is not paying. What is going to happen? Are they going togive us an extension from March going forward? Everyone is in the dark,” he said.
“Tourism is one of the biggest income generators for the SA economy and they busy killing everyone.”