On Sunday 15 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster in relation to the novel coronavirus, and asked people and businesses across the country to take precautionary social distancing measures – working from home where able, increasing sanitary measures in shops and businesses, and asking those who were sick to self-isolate for 14 days.
The following Monday, on 23 March 2020, Ramaphosa announced a nation-wide lockdown, commencing at 23:59 on Thursday 26 March – an effort by the country to reduce the rapid spread of Covid-19.
As a result, businesses, service providers, shops and telecommunications companies across the nation have had to pivot quickly to embrace a new way of working and providing services.
Here are just a few of the changes we have seen and will see over the next 21 days:
- Spars in some areas are offering pack-and-deliver services – some Spar stores allow you to phone or e-mail ahead with an order, which you then are able to either collect curb-side or
- PnP is launching a drive-thru service – customers can e-mail your order to your local Pick n Pay store with a drive-thru service. Customers will receive a notice when their order is ready for collection. They can park a designated spot in the Pick n Pay shop’s parking lot. A Pick n Pay staff member will bring the groceries and load them into your car. Payment is made from within the car through a sanitised credit card machine. Items will be limited on a per-customer basis.
- Chemists are offering curb-side pick-up services – some chemists allow order-ahead and curb-side pick-up
- Some vets will be offering curb-side pick-up services
- Telecommunications providers are lowering the cost of selected data bundles, due to the recent Competition Commission ruling. However, this is sure to aid people working from home.
- DStv and SABC will be hosting free channels which will aid parents to teach their children from home
- DStv is offering a number of free channels: 100 – DStv; 180 – People’s Weather; 238 – SuperSport Play; 313 – PBS Kids; 320 – Channel O; 343 – TBN; 400 – BBC World News; 401 – CNN; 402 – Sky News; 403 – eNCA; 404 – SABC News; 406 – Newzroom Afrika; and 414 – Euronews Now.
- Many businesses across the country are conducting meetings and business as usual via a number of online videoconferencing platforms, including WhatsApp, Zoom, Facetime and Skype. They are also making use of productivity apps such as Slack and Trello.