Remember just a few weeks ago the jokes that were circulating about corona virus? And now today we find our country and the world going in lockdown. I was watching a news broadcast last night in which it was recommended that if possible, everyone just stay at home. No eating or drinking out and no gatherings of more than ten people. Work from home if at all viable. I think everyone is starting to get it. It’s not only about the risk to you yourself but the risk to others, especially the elderly and frail.
But what about small businesses?
However, spare a thought for all the small businesses and self-employed people. The restaurant and B ‘n B owners, small tour operators, event organisers, public speakers, trainers,…to name but a few. There has been a lot of talk about protecting the rights of employees if they can’t go to work but what about the people that are self-employed? Imagine you are one of them and that your clientele are essentially being told that they must not frequent your establishment or make use of your service? Must they simply grin and bear it and hope that they have enough in reserve to survive financially? I can tell you this…some will but many won’t. This will be the end of a number of businesses unless there is some sort of an intervention.
We are all being told that we must be kind and empathetic. However, I have not heard anything about support for the businesses that we are essentially being told to boycot until further notice. Donald Trump has promised support for the US airlines. He has not said anything about the hundreds and thousands of small, single person owned businesses in his country.
Encouragement for Entrepeuners
In SA we have been encouraged for decades to be entrepeneurial. In support of this we have been afforded many benefits including tax breaks. But what now? Is there any plan to protect us while everyone is locked up in their homes due to a global disaster for which no-one is to blame? I don’t think so. I wonder if any of the insurance companies are considering new product development for future such eventualities?
Self-employment has always had something of a glamorous tinge to it – work when you want, take leave when you want, etc.. Never before however, has it been quite so scary. I have been doing it for more than 30 years and am used to the highs and lows that come with it. But I must say, a paying job looks very attractive at the moment. That said, the sun is up today and if it comes again tomorrow, I will carry on and will continue to do my bit to curb the spread of this thing. I will be kind to my fellow humans and offer my support where I can. And I will try not to panic and will only buy my reasonable share of toilet paper. I will look forward to when this is all a thing of the past and our country and world can return to it’s normal, social state.