President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that government has decided to avail the COVID-19 TERS to sectors hardest hit by the Adjusted Alert Level 4 COVID-19 restrictions.
“Despite the economic impact of these restrictions, we need to appreciate that it is the pandemic itself that poses the greatest threat to economic recovery,” said the President, while addressing the nation on the country’s progress in the national effort to contain the pandemic.
He said a prolonged period of uncontrolled infections would cause far greater economic damage than the restrictions put in place, disrupting production and deterring people from venturing out to entertainment venues and public spaces.
“We recognise, however, that these restrictions have had consequences for individuals, for households, and for businesses that were already under pressure before the pandemic.
“We remain committed to do all that we can to mitigate the impact of the lockdown on people’s livelihoods,” he said.
Following the move to Adjusted Alert Level 4, he said the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) embarked on negotiations with social partners to address the difficulties that employees who lost income under these restrictions faced.
On the basis of these discussions, the UIF decided that the COVID-19 TERS scheme should be extended to sectors that are affected by Adjusted Alert Level 4 restrictions.
“The details of the extension will be published shortly following the finalisation of the full scheme, which will include further details on who is eligible for this support,” he said.
Since its inception last year, the COVID-19 TERS scheme has already provided more than R60 billion to protect the jobs of 5.5 million workers.
In addition, Cabinet has decided that all business licenses and permits that expired between March 2020 and June 2021 will remain valid until 31 December 2022.
New business licenses or permits that are issued from 1 July will also be valid until 31 December 2022, and no license fee will be payable.
“This will provide some relief to small businesses,” he said.