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Is your business able to remain open during the Coronavirus lockdown in SA? See if you are on the list.

by | Mar 24, 2020 | Finance, Operations, People, Sales & Marketing, Strategy | 0 comments

On Monday, 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day countrywide coronavirus lockdown in SA which exempts only a few critical services and businesses from closing their doors. In his address to the nation, Ramaphosa said: “All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations, and health care providers. Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods, and medical supplies will remain open.” (Ramaphosa, 2020) Read the full speech here.

If you need any advice during this time on how to facilitate payroll, setup remote-working environments or on how to apply for the SMME relief fund, click here to contact us.

If your business does not fall within the categories listed below, you will be forced to close your doors from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020. The government has requested that companies that are able to partake in remote-work opportunities do so during this time of crisis to prevent the spread and keep our country safe.

Below is a list of the critical services and businesses to remain open during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown period:


1. Electricity – stable power supply with no load shedding

Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity will need to continue to operate.  This includes municipalities, and the suppliers of logistics, feedstock and maintenance will be required to continue to operate and provide security of electricity supply. 

2. Water supply, sewerage, and sanitation

Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the security of supply of bulk and potable water and sanitation must continue to operate and provide vital water and sanitation services.  This includes municipalities and those involved in the supply of materials, chemicals, and related equipment. 

3. ICT – datacentres, fibre optic infrastructure, towers and antennae

We have extensively engaged with the ICT sector and are satisfied that connectivity will remain stable during this period. In this time industry collaboration will be critical to ensure that society remains connected and functional. The ICT sector including data centres, fibre optic providers, towers and antennae will need to operate at high capacity.

The industry will collaborate and use multiple data sets to provide predictive insights into the spread and impact dynamics of the crisis which will enable government and society’s ability to be proactive in measures that reduce the curve and social and economic impact of the spread.  ​

Social platforms will allow our people to remain socially included and these platforms remain critical to the dissemination of accurate information. However, our citizens are reminded that cybersecurity is of the utmost importance and to be vigilant to cybercriminals who will, during this time, try to exploit the public. 


1. Food & essential products – related manufacturing and processing, and distribution

In order to ensure that people remain well-nourished and apply high personal hygiene to combat the spread of Covid-19, the following operations will continue:

  • Manufacturing of health-related products, supplies, devices, equipment, and medicines, including complementary health products; food and essential products, as well as essential inputs thereto.
  • Agricultural and food supply related operations, including farming, veterinary and phytosanitary provider services, pest control services, and chemical and fertilizer providers.
  • Fishing operations
  • Forestry and sawmills will remain in production for disposable health and hygiene products, including toilet paper, as well as to produce packaging for essential health and food supply chains.
  • Food, beverages and essential products manufacturing and processing facilities
  • Warehousing, transport, and logistics for food & essential products, and health-related goods
  • The Ports, road and rail networks will remain open in order to facilitate the import and export of essential products.
  • Food outlets – retail, wholesale, spaza shops and malls for food and essential products.

Essential products include toilet paper, cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants, personal hygiene products, bedding and clothing, and essential supplies for those taking care of the sick and for people to remain healthy.

2. Enabling Services

To assist in the Covid-19 response, the following services are required to continue operations:

  • All healthcare-related services be they public or private.
  • Call centres providing life and health; energy, food, and water supply, social, transactional, communications, law and order, and international critical business continuity services. 
  • Professional and artisan services, to the extent that they are providing support in the Covid19 response, essential and critical business continuity services.
  • Cleaning, laundry and hospitality services supporting the Covid-19 response and essential and critical business continuity services.
  • Hotels, airlines, stadiums, car rental services, to the extent that they are supporting essential or critical business continuity services and repurposing for
  • Financial and insurance services and health funders required to finance and support essential and critical business continuity services in the Covid-19 response and provide short term bridging finance to people and businesses during this period.
  • Anti-poaching and wildlife conservation services.
  • Communication and media services on screen, TV, radio, print, broadcast and online.
  • Safety and security services protecting people and property. 

3. Work from Home

The government encourages people to continue to remain productive and work from home. However, this must the basis that it does not require contact with people not residing in the home, and it does not interfere in any manner with the Covid-19 response (IOL, 2020).

In his statement, Ramaphosa said that a detailed list will be made available in due course. If you need any advice during this time on how to facilitate payroll, setup remote-working environments or on how to apply for the SMME relief fund, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


IOL. (2020, March 23). Coronavirus lockdown in SA: These are the businesses that can operate. Retrieved from IOL: https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/coronavirus-lockdown-in-sa-these-are-the-businesses-that-can-operate-45431834

Ramaphosa, P. C. (2020, March 23). President Cyril Ramaphosa: Escalation of measures to combat Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from South African Government: https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-escalation-measures-combat-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-mar

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

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