In response to a few queries from members and others regarding COCHASA's position regarding the Lockdown in South Africa, I've collated a few replies here for our members' reference. I have consulted with our Vice-President Boetie Toerien regarding these responses to queries received between Level 5 and at this time of writing, where we are currently under Level 4 regulations.
COCHASA is in no position to lobby for or endorse members to be permitted to work during the lockdown.
Our Full Members are Associations who are required to have the relevant training, codes of ethics and disciplinary procedures in place should there be complaints from the public. As a Confederation of smaller Complementary Health Associations, we do not assess or endorse any of the qualifications of the Full Association or Individual Associate members. We recognise their education based on the information and certification they provide and rely on the integrity of our members' honesty when submitting this on their registration. Each respective Association is responsible for guiding its members according to the regulations. COCHASA cannot encourage any activity that breaches the lockdown / social distancing regulations and encourages unnecessary close contact of people when not yet permitted under Lockdown regulations.
Presently, businesses such as beauty therapists, non-therapeutic massage therapists, spas, hairdressers etc. are not permitted to work (other than offer retail sales). In our opinion, most of our members fall into similar personal service spaces to these professions. These are also non-statutory professions and are only allowed back to work at Level 1.
Some statutory professions that are allowed to operate at present have limitations to their procedures, all are encouraged to do distance screening and consultations via telephone or internet and must have proper protocols in place when they do see their clients.
- COCHASA is not a Statutory Council or a Company,
- COCHASA is not an Employer
- Members are not employees of COCHASA.
COCHASA thus has no government-recognised authority to issue permits or endorsements to practice during the lockdown.
Official permits under lockdown
Companies can apply at the link below and have to assess for themselves whether their activities form part of Essential Services or other services that become permitted under any particular level.
https://www.bizportal.gov.za/essential_service.aspx (Please copy the link and paste it into your browser).
As far as we are aware, Sole Proprietors do not need to apply for a permit, but must ensure they fall under the current permitted activities to operate; therefore take responsibility for doing so upon themselves. They must ensure proper SOPs, PPE, social distancing procedures etc. are in place according to the relevant regulations at any level of lockdown.
The way forward
We advise members to see what happens to the regulations regarding the Hair and Beauty professionals, currently not allowed to operate under Level 4. With strong trade associations petitioning on their behalf, perhaps they will be permitted back sooner than the current Level 1 status. Here is a useful site to follow the regulations under each level; you also can download an app for Android or IOS phones:
https://www.lockdownbozza.co.za/ (Please copy the link and paste it into your browser).
Although we understand the frustration and desperation of not being able to work, unfortunately, we cannot offer any more than this at present. We feel that is the way that any authority may see things should a client test positive for COVID-19, and they trace the contacts back to these kinds of personal services.
We wish all our members and their loved ones safe passage through this crisis.