Charl Pienaar, looks at the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic affected Stuttaford Van Lines in South Africa, and takes a glimpse into the future.
It was on the 5th March that South Africa was put under total lockdown. We were not considered to be an essential service, so the business was completely closed for 41 days. We opened again on 7th of May. It’s ironic that, when we closed we only had 1 case of COVID-19 in the country, now we have had 216,000 cases, are nearing the peak of the virus, and are back working normally, with the obvious precautions. Fortunately for us, we are a very young nation with only 5% of the population being over 60.
It’s been difficult and still is. The borders are still closed and there are no international flights other than for repatriation. It’s very difficult to get bookings on vessels. China was our biggest trading partner so, now there are fewer inbound vessels, outbound space is at a premium. It’s an awkward situation.