South Africa may not be moving to Level 2 of lockdown, but our progress to 'Advanced Level 3' will be music to the ears of many waiting to return to work. Thousands of business owners and their staff are set to be given the all-clear to open venues such as hair salons, restaurants and tattoo studios.
When does South Africa move to Advanced Level 3?
Should the Health Advisory Council agree with Cabinet's proposals, these popular services will be welcoming customers again 'at some point this month. The announcement will be made 'by Wednesday latest'.
The move, however, comes at a time where the coronavirus infection rate in South Africa is soaring. With over 4 000 new cases reported on Sunday, reopening the economy comes with risks. But how will these recreational businesses get back to doing what they do best, while making health a top priority?
What services and businesses can operate at Advanced Level 3?
Restaurants will be allowed to offer sit-in services
Our beloved restaurants and takeaway joints were only able to serve food via collection, deliver and drive-thru methods before Advanced Level 3. But for industry professionals, this was not enough to sustain a majority of businesses and staff. That's why groups have begged the government to go one step further.
Many businesses have been crippled by the lack of 'sit-in' options they are allowed to provide. That's where the Restaurant Group of South African (Rasa) come in: Their campaign to loosen the shackles seems to have paid off: Wendy Alberts is the chief executive of Rasa, who represent upwards of 13 000 enterprises in South Africa. Earlier in June, she explained the difficulties most establishments are facing.
"The biggest concern is that all our transformation doesn't allow many of our staff to come to work. We represent about 800 000 people, but only 20% of workers have been able to come back so far. Sadly, massive job losses are inevitable within the industry if we carry on this way."Wendy Alberts
Cabinet will soon allow sit-in services at Advanced Level 3. Even so, Alberts went on to outline how businesses within the industry would want to work going forward:
"Churches can open, so we want the same guidelines in place for restaurants to open in Level 3. Let us open with 70% capacity, and let us introduce the 1.5-metre social distancing rules to our customers. Long before COVID-19, restaurants have been the leading industry when it comes to good hygiene standards."Wendy Alberts
Hairdressers can offer their services again
We've also got hairdressers coming back into the fold. Stylists, barbers and salon professionals became something of a political football last week, after they were the subject of a legal challenge against the government.
The DA was hoping to drag Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to court to get the ban on hairdressing overturned. She failed to make any submissions, delaying the case further. Although the industry didn't get a win in the dock, it seems the pressure paid dividends. Advanced Level 3 regulations give them the green-light to operate.
The CEO of Hair News South Africa, Jassy Mackenzie, has elaborated on what steps businesses in the trade will take to ensure public safety. Of course, hygiene is already a huge factor when it comes to hairstyling, and the industry is perhaps more ready than most to resume full operations.
"The hairdressing industry is already well aware that intensive precautions will need to be implemented in terms of social distancing, limited numbers in the salon, thorough sanitization, the use of disposable equipment, the compulsory use of masks, client screening, and more."Jassy Mackenzie
Tattoos to be allowed… subject to final approval
And finally, we come to the tattoo industry. The creative artists responsible for inking us up have been left in limbo for the past 11 weeks. On Monday, and following a well-orchestrated campaign to open their doors once more, they were told that they are likely to resume their art during Advanced Level 3.
Tattooers Unite, a group formed to represent the interests of all tattoo studios in South Africa, are more than ready to get up and running again. The group, co-founded by Derek Baker, have laid down their modus operandi for life during the COVID-19 crisis. According to their missions statement:
"Artists will only come into the studio to do consultations that require direct interaction with the clients or to apply tattoos/piercings and will endeavor to do their utmost to complete the majority of their consultations from home over social media, Whatsapp or video calling."
"Studios are well ventilated as well to ensure that the air is kept fresh at all times. All disposable items used during the performance of our duties are discarded in medical waste bins which are collected regularly by a medical waste disposal company."Tattooers Unite mission statement
We are still waiting on definitive confirmation for this industry. The Health Advisory Council are yet to make a final decision. But these tattoo specialists have more up their sleeves, and the odds are in their favour: Tattooers Unite painstakingly detailed how they will keep customers safe during these uncertain times. So for those wanting to get their ink fix, you should note:
Studios will not accept walk-in patrons and all consultations and sessions are by appointment only.
- All tattoo artists are required to completely sanitize the workplace before and between each client.[*]The wearing of masks is required at all times – for both artists and clients. Gloves must be worn during procedures.[*]All staff must be certified in the prevention of transmission of bloodborne pathogens – and their certificates to confirm this must be available at all times.[*]The cleaning of all surfaces and equipment with industrial-grade cleaning products in line with WHO regulations.[*]A contactless thermal scanner will check for high temperatures on all staff and clients, as will daily health screenings.