The Western Cape provincial government has called for the reintroduction of the Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) to assist businesses and workers impacted by the latest adjusted level 4 lockdown regulations.
The TERS was originally introduced to support employees whose services would not be used during lockdown because of the disaster regulations that designated only certain industry sectors and workers as essential.
However, the scheme morphed into a form of additional income support for many workers during the prolonged lockdown period.
The new restrictions mean it is critical that the national government provide a support package for businesses whose operations are limited or shut down, said provincial MEC for finance and economic opportunities David Maynier.
Maynier said he has written to employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi to request that he re-open the UIF Covid-19 TERS scheme for the duration of the level 4 restrictions to assist businesses and employees who are not able to operate.
“Many businesses, particularly in the hospitality and liquor sectors have already been hard-hit with significant job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Wine farms, restaurants and coffee shops cannot survive on takeaways alone. Two weeks of no income for these businesses, as well as cinemas, gyms, casinos, conferencing venues and theatres, will have a direct and sudden impact on people’s livelihoods – their ability to pay salaries, rent and buy food.”
Maynier said that the TERS funds could provide the lifeline that businesses and employees need to sustain their operations while these restrictions on the economy are in place.
“We all have a role to play to stop the spread of Covid-19 and it remains all our responsibility to continue adhering to the health protocols required to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“We can also support those businesses that are impacted by the restrictions. We know times are tough, but if you can, please support our restaurant sector and order takeaways over the next two weeks, especially from small businesses.”