The first case of Covid-19 also known as the coronavirus, was reported in South Africa on 05 March and in just two weeks, more than 200 people have tested positive.
Fortunately, no deaths have been reported thus far however, we are starting to see the knock-on effect Covid-19 has on social gatherings such as church functions, music festivals, businesses, particularly hospitality, retail and travel to name a few.
On Sunday evening, 15 March, in his address, one of the restrictions the President outlined was that there should be no gathering of more than 100 people. Among other things, this has meant that schools had to be closed early and for longer periods and as a result, parents are going to need more money for entertaining kids at home.
This will undoubtedly have a ripple effect of household items that would have generally lasted longer if children where in school, we’re talking electricity, groceries and sanitary items., notes John Manyike, head of financial education at Old Mutual provides some tips for consumers and business operations during the extraordinary time.
- Don’t Panic, Focus on things you can control. Retailers are confident that they have a robust and resilient supply value chain system and the relationship between them and suppliers is very health, therefore they do not anticipate shortage of food. There is no need to pile stock of groceries because of panic.
- Don’t borrow money to buy food in preparation for self-quarantine.
- Remember that load shedding has not disappeared, therefore there is a risk for perishable items to be wasted.
- It’s okay to shop for personal hygiene products
- Consumers working in industries that are significantly affected such as hospitality, entertainment, restaurants and malls whose household income could be inadvertently compromised by the Corona Virus outbreak might be confronted with a situation they are unable to service their mortgage, retail accounts, cars or provide basic necessities for their families.
- Consumers in this category need to be proactive by approaching their credit providers to make an arrangement. Don’t wait for debt collectors to knock on your doors. Show them your income and budget. Negotiate a better arrangement in the interim.
- Consult with your insurers to establish if your policies have a premium holiday without your policies lapsing.
- Do not disinvest, markets are generally volatile during uncertain times but it’s all temporary. Once the virus is under control economic activity will return to normal. Take a long term view when it comes to investments
- Have an eating plan for children whilst they are at home, for example cultivate a culture of managing wastage. Children should not eat because its time to eat but they must eat because they are hungry.
- Any left overs must be kept in the fridge and they must continue where they left off if they are hungry again. This is to prevent food wastage
- Parents who were planning a holiday should consider repurposing that budget by either investing it or using some of it to entertain their children at home.
- Keep your children busy with some homework, research online sites or youtube channels and encourage children to spend at least 2 to 3 hours of the day learning. This will stand them in good stead when they return to school.
Important health and safety precautions:
To prevent catching or spreading the virus and to help keep your families, colleagues and communities safe, it’s essential to follow these preventative guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water – for at least 20 seconds at a time. Always dry them properly afterwards, preferably with a paper towel;
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill;
- Stay home if you feel ill;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, sleeve or elbow, and throw the tissue in the bin;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
- Avoid handshaking;
- Avoid large crowds or gatherings.