Date: 23 March 2020 By: Anton van Zyl
OPEN LETTER TO LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS
Dear business partner
Never before in our lifetime has a disease caused such disruption, fear, panic and compassion in countries throughout the world. Our region has not been spared, and we are gradually coming to grips with terms such as social distancing and lock-down.
Among all this turmoil and uncertainty, we must still continue with business. For most of us, our business is not a luxury – it is a necessity and we believe we provide an essential service to our local community. How do we then handle the restrictions placed on businesses during these trying times?
In short – we do not know, and we learn as we go along. We try and be considerate, we try to ensure that we operate in a safe environment and we try to cater for the needs of our customers. We also need to assist each other, especially the small enterprises that do not have the luxury of a national back-up system.
From the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror’s side we have an obligation to assist in the way businesses communicate with their clients. We need to help the businesses as far as possible in telling their customers how the coronavirus has affected them and what interim measures are in place.
Some businesses, such as restaurants, have had to close, but they still do home deliveries. Other businesses are prepared to collect items at homes or make drop-off points available. Some have innovative ways in which they ensure social distancing and hygiene.
What is important, however, is to communicate with residents. They need to be reassured that they will still have access to essential goods and services. The Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror’s staff believe that we have a powerful and trusted brand (our social media pages alone have more than 53 000 followers) and that we can make a difference.
While the crisis is continuing, the newspaper group will make all its platforms available to try and assist. We plan on extending our subsidised SMME project and include daily updates of business news on our website and social media groups.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to do all this free of charge. Our business is also very small, and we do not have a “big sister” somewhere in a city. We will, however, try and cut the costs to the bone and charge for just the essentials.
We do not want to see any business going under during this period. If we can help any business survive, let us try. We offer our services and our experienced staff to help businesses communicate with clients. Let us help each other.
Anton van Zyl
Owner/manager: Zoutnet Publishers
Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror since 1990. He graduated from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.