Frequently Asked Questions - Business and Events

How do I stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace?
All sections of our society – including businesses and employers – must play a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Where possible, consider allowing your staff to work from home.

Where this isn't possible, we appeal to businesses to take decisions in the best interests of their staff - by ensuring that they are able to keep their distance, in a hygienic environment.

Consider where you can make a difference- maybe you can send an email instead of holding a meeting, or re-arrange the workspace so as to allow for more space.

Employers must ensure the workplace is clean and hygienic and that surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) are wiped with disinfectant regularly.

Make soap and/or hand sanitisers available for thorough hand-washing by staff and customers.

It is advisable to delay or avoid non-essential travel to affected areas if you are sick, in particular for elderly travelers and people with chronic diseases or underlying health conditions.

If you cannot delay traveling, ensure that staff comply with instructions from local authorities where they are traveling. If, for example, they are told by local authorities not to go somewhere they should comply with this. Your staff should comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings in the area they are traveling to.

What do I tell my staff who use public transport?
Where possible, consider allowing your staff to work from home. If it is essential that your staff have to go into work, and they have to use public transport, please advise them that we have had engagements with public transport operators to inform them of the dangers and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and that we are working tirelessly with these operators to ensure that public transport remain safe.

Public transport providers have stepped up their cleaning routines and have changed their behaviour. They are keeping windows open as well as using products like sanitisers between trips.

If your staff ensure that they follow all hygiene measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and that there is a reasonable space between them and their fellow passengers, that windows are open and that they avoid touching too many surfaces, such as guard rails, and that they immediately wash or sanitise their hands before and after they travel, then they should be able to use public transport.

My business is suffering due to COVID19, who can I talk to for advice and support?
We are committed to supporting businesses at this difficult time. Together with Wesgro, the City of Cape Town and industry partners, we have activated the official “COVID-19 Content Centre for Business”, a virtual centre consisting of sector specialists and communications experts, set up to develop reliable content to assist industry and manage daily queries and business concerns.

Businesses requiring support are encouraged to send their questions to supportbusiness@wesgro.co.za.

Will events be cancelled in the Western Cape?
The President has declared the COVID-19 a national state of disaster and also announced several response measures to limit the spread of the virus.

The following will be relevant for the events industry where international participants are anticipated:

A travel ban has been imposed on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China as from 18 March 2020.

Visas to visitors from these countries have been cancelled and from 15 March 2020, previously granted visas are revoked.

Any foreign national who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa.

Travellers from medium-risk countries - such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore - will be required to undergo high-intensity screening.

All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.

Government will continue to regularly issue travel alerts referring to specific cities, countries or regions as the situation evolves based on the risk level.

What measures should I follow with regards to events?
The following directive relates directly to gatherings such as events:

Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited. Where small gatherings are unavoidable, organisers will need to put in place stringent measures of prevention and control. Please refer to the WHO's Mass Gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak (February 2020) for guidelines and recommendations.
 
In response, the following actions are also recommended:

  • Refer your queries to the relevant permit office where relevant and or PCO (for business events), which issued your permits, this includes rescheduling events.
  • Refer to your public liability policy’s terms and conditions.
  • Consider your risks and reputation as an event.
  • Consider the relationship management requirements of your event participants in terms of short, medium and long term requirements.
  • Communicate timeously to your participants.
  • Cancellations are the responsibility of the event organiser/owner.

All event permits require a medical plan – EMS – this must include mitigation for the COVID-19 virus for each event, consult with the event permitting office for any queries relating to this amendment.
Refer to WHO for any health risk information as the experts on COVID-19.

It is recommended that event organisers advise participants not to attend public events if they are feeling ill.

If you think you or any event participant might have contracted the virus, you can call the NICD helpline (0800 029 999) and you will be advised on possible testing facilities.

I own a restaurant with a liquor license, under what conditions may I continue to operate my business?

In accordance with the national regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act and a statement issued by the Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, on 21 March 2020, the following will apply:

  • No sale of liquor during the following hours:
    • 18:00 - 09:00 on weekdays and Saturdays
    • 13:00 - 09:00 on Sundays and all public holidays
  • All on-consumption premises selling liquor, including taverns, restaurants and clubs may continue to operate ONLY if the following conditions are complied with:
    • All liquor, opened, closed, finished or unfinished MUST be off the tables, and can’t be consumed during the no-sale hours;
    • No more than 50 people may be accommodated on the premises at the same time, including staff;
    • Adequate space must be available for social distancing which means 1 square meter per person; and
    • All directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19 must be adhered to.

All on-consumption premises which do not adhere must close with immediate effect until further notice. Restaurants and other businesses which sell alcohol on-site may remain open until their closing time but must enforce the necessary hygienic measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of residents in the Western Cape.

How will the liquor license regulations be enforced?
Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, stated in a media statement on 21 March 2020 that enforcement actions will be taken against license holders who contravene relevant legislation.

The regulations do not criminalise the contravention of the operating hours stipulated under regulation 8. However, those who are found by the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) to be trading beyond the prescribed hours will be issued with a formal warning at first. Thereafter, the WCLA will follow the procedures as stipulated in section 71 of Western Cape Liquor Act. This entails an application being submitted to the Liquor Licensing Tribunal for the temporary suspension of a liquor license because of an imminent threat to the health and well-being of the public. This procedure will be enforced by both SAPS and law enforcement who have been made aware.

Can I apply for an event or temporary liquor license during the state of disaster?
According to Western Cape Minister of Safety and Security, Albert Fritz, no event or temporary liquor license applications for trading on dates that fall within the time period to which the state of disaster has been declared, will be accepted. Event and temporary applications for dates that fall outside of the time period of the state of disaster will still be accepted and will only be considered once the state of disaster has lapsed. Should the state of disaster be extended, applications within the extended period will not be considered.

What is the definition of liquor?
According to the Regulations Issued in Terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act on 18 March 2020 -
‘liquor’ means— (a) any liquor product, as defined in section 1 of the Liquor Products Act, 1979 (Act No. 60 of 1989); (b) beer or traditional African beer; or (c) any other substance or drink declared to be liquor under the Liquor Act, 2003 (Act No. 59 of 2003), but does not include methylated spirits.

What does “adequate space” mean?
According to the Regulations Issued in Terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act on 18 March 2020, adequate space means not more than one person per square meter of floor space.

May patrons finish the wine that they had ordered before 6pm after the 6pm cut-off?
No. All liquor, opened, closed, finished or unfinished MUST be off the tables, and cannot be consumed during the no-sale hours. This is in accordance with the Regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, and a statement by the Western Cape Minister of Community Safety on 21 March 2020.

Am I allowed to keep my establishment open if patrons bring their own alcoholic drinks to consume on the premises?
No. All liquor, opened, closed, finished or unfinished MUST be off the tables, and can’t be consumed during the no-sale hours. This is in accordance with the Regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, and a statement by the Western Cape Minister of Community Safety on 21 March 2020.