Joburg businesses feel the virus’ economic bite – The Citizen

As some parts of the world slowly emerge from lengthy lockdowns, the dire consequences of the global coronavirus outbreak continues to reveal widespread ramifications for businesses around the globe, and stories of popular brands shutting their doors for good dominate the news.

In South Africa and just after over a month of lockdown, similar accounts have emerged of businesses forced to permanently shut their doors as others race to consider their options for survival.

Saturday Citizen spoke to two businesses owners on the once-buzzing Greenside strip.

Muhammad Iqbal Gattoo, the owner of Fantasea Pets, says he had a good client base from the surrounding neighbourhood, as well as loyal customers who had supported his pet supplies store for many years.

But the national lockdown unravelled that.

“To be honest, we already felt a slump in business in January and February, when things were just naturally slow due to back-to-school commitments and such.

“When the lockdown came it was a real worry for us, as we knew this would really be bad for the economy and small businesses,” he said.

Within a matter of weeks, restaurants, pubs and other shops in Greenside and neighbouring Melville and Parkhurst had launched crowdfunding appeals to their loyal patrons.

Gattoo’s business neighbour, Clenergy Restaurant, which launched in late November, has decided to reinvent itself to help make ends meet.

“We have had to look into transforming our business from a full-on sit-down restaurant into two different businesses.

“One is a health food emporium selling only low-carb, banting-friendly, keto- and diabetic-friendly products.

“The second part is taking our restaurant into a full-on delivery service,” said Clenergy founder and owner Abdulla Miya.

Miya and Gattoo are appealing to the members of the public and loyal customers to support businesses in the area as much as they can.

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