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Call to change curfew- every hour of trading is vital for businesses<p>I have written to Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, to implore her to consider and lobby for the lifting of the current curfew of 21:00 to 23:00.</p><p>I have been inundated with calls and correspondence from desperate businesses in hospitality, manufacturing, retail and SMMEs across the business value chain, including the Cape Chamber of Commerce and the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa), who, after just managing to survive the first round of lockdowns, are now facing closure due to having to close their doors at 20:00.<br> <br>Losing trading hours every night has pushed many businesses to the brink, with many not being able to retain customers, pay bills, or keep staff employed. <br> <br>Our local economy relies on the food and beverage, manufacturing, hospitality and retail sectors, including service providers, for jobs and economic activity. We know that, according to the latest information from Statistics South Africa, the tourism sector added R18,1 billion to our economy and supported just over 113 000 jobs in 2018. <br> <br>While the full extent of the various lockdowns on business closures and job losses is yet to be established, thousands of businesses and jobs have potentially been lost or are at risk.<br> <br>These businesses need every hour to keep their doors open, retain and create jobs. <br> <br>As a country, we are in the grips of a second wave of COVID-19, and saving lives as well as livelihoods continues to be a priority. It must be noted that early indications are that the infection rate in the Western Cape is stabilising. <br> <br>I do not make this request, to change the curfew, lightly but this is a bid to save what is left of the hospitality sector.<br> <br>I am reassured and do so on the basis of the extensive health and safety protocols implemented by this industry, which I have seen first-hand through my many visits. <br> <br>I am confident that by extending the curfew by just two hours to 23:00, on the strict condition of the implementation of the necessary health and safety measures, we will be able to give these sectors the lifeline they so desperately need to stay viable and save jobs.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2021-01-14T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#c3eb4de2-583c-47d9-9e83-f61b914a172e;L0|#0c3eb4de2-583c-47d9-9e83-f61b914a172e|Economic opportunities;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb10

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