Western Cape MEC sends SOS for extra funding to save tourism and hospitality sector

Western Cape MEC sends SOS for extra funding to save tourism and hospitality sector

Urgent financial intervention is needed to help the Western Cape’s tourism and hospitality sector survive the extended level 3 lockdown, the province’s finance and economic opportunities MEC David Maynier said on Tuesday.

Maynier said the extended lockdown is a killer blow for many local businesses which have lost out on the summer season.

He called on the national government to extend the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 financial support for the extended lockdown period to save jobs and help keep businesses afloat.

“The tourism and hospitality industry has already been hard hit, and jobs are being lost as a result of the continued closure of beaches, the curfew and the alcohol ban. This is having a devastating impact on businesses and jobs in the Western Cape.

“We have received many e-mails from businesses and individuals who have held on for the past 10 months but simply can’t continue to sustain their businesses or pay their employees with the current restrictions in place,” Maynier said.  

“It is simply not fair to expect tourism, hospitality and liquor businesses to continue with limited operations or even close during the peak summer season without the necessary financial support to ensure they remain operational and can retain their staff during the alert level 3 restrictions.” 

Maynier said he had written to employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi to request an extension of UIF Covid-19 funding for the duration of level 3 restrictions.

He said there were sufficient funds in the UIF’s investment portfolio to cover the additional expense.

“These funds could provide the lifeline businesses and employees need to sustain their operations while these restrictions on the economy are in place,” Maynier said.  

“The Western Cape government has focused on getting the balance right between preventing the spread of Covid-19 while keeping the economy as open as possible, saving both lives and livelihoods.”