Published: May 2, 2020

Does wholesale and the retail trade sector include Spaza Shops and Informal Traders?

Yes, it does. In addition, directions may permit the incremental expansion of e-commerce.*


What business activities within this sector are permitted, unless otherwise specified:

  • Food products, including non-alcoholic beverages and animal food.
  • The sale of hot cooked food, only for home delivery.
  • Toilet Paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, and condoms.
  • Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment.
  • Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector;
  • Products for the care of babies and toddlers.
  • Personal toiletries, including hair care, body, face, hand and foot care products, roll-ons, deodorants, dental care products.
  • Medical and Hospital Supplies, medicine, equipment and personal protective equipment.
  • Fuel and lighting, including coal, wood, paraffin and gas.
  • Airtime and electricity.
  • Hardware, components and supplies
  • Components for vehicles undergoing emergency repairs.
  • Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any these products listed in Part E.
  • Textiles required to produce face masks and other personal protective equipment and winter clothing.
  • Winter clothing, footwear, bedding and heaters and the components and fabrics required to manufacture these.
  • Children’s clothing and fabrics and components required to manufacture these.
  • Stationary and educational books.
  • Personal ICT equipment including computers, mobile telephones and other home office equipment.


In addition, Alert Level 4 also permits the following supply chain-related activities:

  • Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of essential services including components and equipment required for production or rendering of permitted goods and services.
  • All workplace or premises must have care and maintenance that is essential to the prevention of the destruction or significant impairment of working areas, plant, machinery or inventory, or to permit orderly wind-down arrangements, on such conditions as may be issued by means of directions by the relevant cabinet members.


May liquor, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products be sold?

No sale of liquor, tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products are permitted.


Workplace Safety

Anybody in the sector that is able to work from home during Alert Level 4 should do so.

Anybody falling under the specific activities mentioned above can work outside the home and can travel to and from work under Alert Level 4.

This is subject to:
–        Strict health protocols, and social distancing rules;
–        Phased-in return to work to enable measures to make the workplace is COVID-ready
–        Returning to work to be done in a manner that avoids and reduces risks of infection.

Anybody that is permitted to work outside their home under Level 4 must carry a Permit to Perform an Essential or Permitted Service (click here to download), issued by the head of the company or institution. This permit must always be accompanied by identification.


Retail store or institution safety measures

  • Every person in control of a retail store or institution must take steps to ensure that customers keep a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other and that all directions in respect of health protocols and social distancing measures COVID-19 are adhered to.
  • A compliance officer needs to be designated to ensure that the safety controls are strictly adhered to. The name of the official must be prominently displayed in the store or in a visible area.
  • Retail stores are not allowed to sell anything other than those goods identified as permitted or essential under Level 4.


The Department of Small Business Development may issue further Directions related to small and micro enterprises, co-operatives, informal traders and spaza shops. (This question will be updated if such Directions are issued).

This is set out in the Disaster Management Regulations issued on 29 April 2020, available here.

*Directions related to e-commerce will take into account the need to limit the extent of movement on the road, contact between people, law- enforcement challenges and the impact on other businesses.

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