Back to business: beginning the journey to financial recovery

Level 4 has meant a return to business for many SMEs. As business owners, we are all aware that it will take time and effort to make up for lost earnings. But we can be positive and excited about beginning the journey to financial recovery!

As we begin our routines again and finances begin to normalise we also need to keep in mind the health and safety of our employees and customers. Going back to work does not have to be a risky business! Here are a few simple tips and guidelines to follow to ensure your business begins to thrive again while you keep your employees and customers safe. 

Travel to and from work

Be aware of the 05h00 – 19h00 public transport operating hours and curfew and adjust your business hours to ensure your employees can travel to and from work safely. Advise them to wear a mask when they travel and wash or sanitize their hands frequently. 

Check that your staff are well every day before work

Check their temperature, if possible, and look out for symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes or shortness of breath, body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness. Call the COVID-19 hotline 0800 02 9999 immediately if any of your staff show symptoms. 

Wear clean cloth masks at all times (and ask your customers to do the same)

Avoid touching your face or mask while wearing it and wash it daily. Always cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

Maintain at least 1.5 meters between staff and customers 

Depending on the size of the shop, this may mean that you work at opposite ends of the shop, or that one person is working in the shop while the other person does deliveries. Keep customers and staff safe by maintaining a physical distance and not shaking hands or touching other. 

Ensure there is enough soap and sanitiser in the shop to keep everyone’s hands clean

The Department of Health recommends that sanitiser have a 70% alcohol content. Wear gloves when you handle money or wash your hands frequently if you’ve touched bank note or coins.

Be safe when making deliveries or passing food to customers 

When making deliveries, keep a safe physical distance, wear a cloth mask and clean protective clothing. All transport containers should be kept clean and frequently disinfected. Sanitise the counter or service hatch before and after serving each customer. Try not to store anything on the service hatch or where germs might land if a customer coughs or sneezes.

Be kind to others and keep the health and safety of your community in mind. 

Do not sell counterfeit goods, alcohol, tobacco products and stale/expired foodstuff. Wash fruit and vegetables with clean water, especially if they are sold loose and eaten raw. The Department of Health also recommends that you keep windows and doors open for ventilation.


World Health Organisation, Food safety regulations, 2020 (

Department of Small Business Development guidelines for participation in the spaza shops and general dealers, 28 April 2020.

Department of Employment and Labour, Covid-19 occupational health and safety measures in workplaces, Covid-19 (c19 ohs), 2020 (

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