Businesses must stay safe to stay open
16 July 2020
We are committed to opening the economy safely in the Western Cape, and so it remains critical that we continue to make every effort to implement and enforce the necessary health and safety measures in the workplace to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Importantly, as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday (12 July 2020), regulations on the wearing of masks have been strengthened. Businesses are now legally required to ensure that anyone entering their premises must be wearing a mask, and employers are legally obliged to provide their employees with a cloth mask or adequate face covering and ensure that they wear it while at work.
To help businesses to implement the regulations and the health measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, we have several tools and resources available on our website: www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus
Our online Covid-19 workplace safety non-compliance complaints form, which allows customers and employees to notify us of businesses that are not following the necessary health guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19, has received 1 114 complaints since it was launched, of which 846 (76%) have been resolved.
All workplace safety non-compliance complaints made to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism using the online form are dealt with as a matter of urgency. In most cases, we are able assist and advise businesses to implement these necessary safety measures. Where there have been serious violations of the safety measures these are reported to the Department of Employment and Labour with a request for immediate action. If serious enough, the Department of Employment and Labour may order a temporary closure of the business or part of the business.
Some examples of the workplace safety non-compliance complaints submitted include:
Inadequate social distancing, especially in communal areas such as canteens
Inadequate use of masks by employees and customers
Inadequate use of hand sanitisation and cleaning facilities
Infected persons in the workplace either due to the person being infected but not showing any Covid-19 symptoms, inadequate regular employee screening or due to employees not staying home because they fear losing their job or wages
Employers not informing employees when a colleague has tested positive
Inadequate management of an infected person in the workplace, for example not being isolated immediately or being sent home in public transport
Not finding and isolating close contacts from work when an employee is infected
Inadequate cleaning following an infected person being in the workplace with either no cleaning, or not cleaning all parts of the business where the employee worked
Inadequate ventilation in the workplace
Sharing of equipment, workspaces, or food without regular cleaning
Exposure to infected customers, especially if customers are in a business without wearing a mask
Little or no communication with employees on workplace health guidelines
Many of these issues can easily be fixed, and so businesses who have questions about implementing the safety guidelines in the workplace can visit westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus for more information, or can email us at [email protected]
The Covid-19 pandemic will be with us for some time, and so it is important that every day we are all taking the simple and responsible actions needed to reduce the risk of transmitting, or being infected with Covid-19.
And together we can ensure that our loved ones stay safe, and our businesses stay open in the Western Cape.
Issued by David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, 16 July 2020