Another month has passed by meaning that it is time to reflect on September’s events, as well as see what October has to offer. September has been an eventful month, with the country entering level 1 of lockdown and so triggering a number of changes. This is a good thing, providing more freedom for businesses to reopen and recover.
In our blog today we will be giving you updates on some of the changes brought about by level 1 of lockdown, as well as updates on the TERS process after its recent rehaul.
Update 5 October: Due to a water leak, the office running TERS operations is experiencing some downtime. They expect the issue to be resolved by the end of today.
Since our last blog covering the TERS process on 15 September, the UIF has significantly updated its safeguards. The process had to be halted in order for the UIF, now headed by acting commissioner Marsha Bronkhurst, to address the findings of the auditor general.
On 21 September, after a two week pause, the UIF restarted its newer and better constituted TERS process. A key change is better bank verification, where you can opt to use your company’s CIPC / CK number, RSA ID number or the trade name which is linked to the account.
You should be careful to ensure that the information you enter exactly matches the bank’s records. The UIF has advised that the verification steps won’t take place till you’re next due to receive payment, meaning that unless instructed otherwise by a notification on your TERS profile, any amendments you’ve made are either still to be checked or are correct.
Applications for 16 August to 15 September
Applications for TERS benefits between 16 August and 15 September opened last Thursday (1 October 2020). Before applying you must ensure that your employees were still eligible for TERS benefits during this period, i.e. 16 August to 15 September.
For more information on the application period and eligibility requirements, you can read this Department of Employment and Labour media statement.
Duration of the TERS scheme
The COVID-19 TERS Direction from 7 September 2020 gave us some clarity on how long this support will last. In summary, based off this Direction, TERS will come to a conclusion either:
- When South Africa is no longer under a national state of disaster (currently due to end on 15 October); or
- When the Minister announces its conclusion on an earlier date.
Level 1 – Effect on Businesses
The key effect of level 1 is that it allows almost all normal commercial activity to resume. Below we have summarised some of the key changes that affect economic activity.
Provided that the safety measures are followed, gatherings are now permitted up to 50% of a venue’s capacity. This is up to a maximum of 250 people for an indoor venue, or 500 people for an outdoor venue.
An owner or operator of a venue where gatherings are held must display a certificate of occupancy, listing the maximum number of people permitted. The certificates are provided by your local municipality, meaning that you should be able to find out how to get one from their website.
Level 1 brings extremely positive news if you operate in the hospitality and travel industries. From 1 October, international travel is permitted, both into and from South Africa for business and leisure. We hope that this will provide a boost in business after what must have been an extremely trying time.
For travel by air, this is subject to the travellers country of origin not being on the red list, in addition to other safety measures such as the traveller providing a negative test upon arrival which is less than 72 hours old.
All 18 land borders are now open, subject to safety requirements and border post limitations. All docks are now also open, but passenger liners for luxury travel are still prohibited to disembark.
We hope that the timing of this change has been a good one and that October will mark a revival in your business.
You can find more information about travel restrictions on this Government page, under Alert level 1.
Providing that all the relevant health protocols, social distancing measures, occupational health and safety direction and sector-specific health protocols are met, businesses can carry out economic activity. We hope that this is a positive and meaningful change for your business, that will help speed your recovery over the coming months.
Unfortunately the return to business is not universal. The following list of activities are still not permitted at the date of writing:
- Night vigils
- Night clubs.
- The 35 land borders that remain closed.
- Initiation practices.
- Passenger ships for international leisure purposes.
- Attendance of any sporting event by spectators.
- International sports events.
- Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport.
- Exclusions relating to education services as set out in the directions
We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
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Keep well and stay safe.