Compliance for businesses during Covid-19

1. Registration as an essential service provider
In terms of the Alert Level Regulations (hereafter “the Regulations”) issued by the South African Government on 29 April 2020, the movement of people and operation of businesses are restricted, and this restriction will only be lifted with government authorisation.
In terms of the restrictions, certain individuals and businesses may perform either an essential service or a permitted service. Individuals and/or businesses performing either essential services or permitted services can operate subject to the restrictions.
It is mandatory for all businesses involved in the provision of either an essential service or a permitted service to register and apply for a certificate from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) by making use of the Bizportal website. The employees of these businesses must carry the necessary travel permits at all times. The certificate issued through Bizportal as well as the travel permits allows for continued business operations and trading during the lockdown.
It is important to note that entities registering as an essential service provider may only do so if they are deemed to be essential in terms of the regulations. Entities that have falsely registered as essential service providers will be investigated and may face criminal charges. It is thus imperative to familiarise yourself with the categories of businesses that are deemed as essential service providers during this time.
We at Barnard Incorporated have experience with the registration and application procedure and can further assist you to determine whether your business is categorised as an essential service provider or a permitted service provider.

2. Mandatory travel permits
The Regulations outline that all businesses engaged in the provision of either essential services or permitted services must issue travel permits to each employee. This will allow the employees to lawfully travel from their place of residence to perform the services needed.
We at Barnard Incorporated can assist with the drafting and issuing of these travel permits to employees.

3. Workplace Plans
All businesses must develop a plan for the phased-in return of employees to the workplace. These plans are required by the Regulations and must be put into place before a business that has employees and/or serves the public, can reopen.
The plan for small businesses may be basic in nature, as a general rule the business should ensure that proper sanitary and social distancing measures and facilities are adhered to and provided at the entrance and exit to the workplace. The Regulations further stipulate that hand sanitizers and facemasks should be provided to employees.
Medium and large businesses must develop a more comprehensive plan which includes details such as:
a) the date of reopening and the hours the business will be open for trading;
b) the steps taken to ensure that the working environment is Covid-19 ready;
c) the arrangements made for staff which includes sanitary and social distancing measures, screening facilities and systems, canteen and bathroom facilities; the work-area of employees, etc.;
d) a list of staff that can work from home, staff who are 60 (sixty) years or older, and staff with high-risk illnesses who will be required to stay at home or work from home and;
e) arrangements for customers or members of the public including measures taken to adhere to social distancing norms and sanitation.
f) The percentage of staff members allowed to be present at the workplace at any given time.
We at Barnard Incorporated can assist with the drafting and implementation of the workplace plan.
The way forward for businesses under Covid-19
Barnard Incorporated is an established law firm with a department that focusses specifically on commercial and corporate needs of entities in various industries. Barnard Incorporated is here to support entities in their endeavor to resume their business operations during this period. Please do not hesitate to direct any queries regarding permits or the registration as an essential or permitted service provider to chanique@barnardinc.co.za or heike@barnardinc.co.za.

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Disaster Management Act Regulations: Alert level 4 during Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown found at: https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/202004/43258rg11098gon480.pdf (hereafter “the Regulations”).
The Regulations (n1 above) regulation 16(2)(a).
https://www.gov.za/Coronavirus/essential-services (accessed 7 March 2020).
The Regulations (n1 above) regulation 16(2)(b).
The Regulations (n1 above) regulation 16(6)(b).
The Regulations (n1 above) Annexure E.

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