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Ask the experts: How to survive and thrive in a post-lockdown environment?

Two local business owners explain how lockdown affected their businesses and what changes they’re implementing to improve their performance and ensure the safety of their employees now.

By Focus Magazine


Mila Arena, V on Wheels


WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU OWNING A FOOD BUSINESS DURING THE LOCKDOWN?

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It was certainly quite an adventure. It all started so abruptly and, totally unprepared, we struggled with the demand at first. We had way more orders than expected because people couldn’t really order food from anywhere else. The couriers were too busy to deliver orders in time and there’s only so much time frozen food can survive outside the freezer.

Getting our hands on all the ingredients was also a challenge – supermarkets and stockists ran out of fresh produce before we could get in and buy what we needed. Everything was so unpredictable.

But looking back on it now, I can see more positive than negative outcomes. I see our wonderful community supporting small businesses by buying our products or sharing a message on social media with the #supportlocal hashtag. I also see other businesses reaching out to work together and help each other. I was personally contacted by a handful of businesses and we came up with some cool ideas. It wasn’t always about buying something from each other, it was about raising the community spirit, being friendly, cheering each other on.


I’ve always loved the social part of my job the most, and the lockdown period really let this social spirit emerge and grow into something beautiful and inspiring.


Estée Kriek, Pyes Pa Dentists

AS A DENTAL PRACTICE, WERE YOU ABLE TO OPERATE DURING THE LOCKDOWN?


We had to close down. Dentistry is by nature a job with very close interpersonal contact and most dental procedures produce aerosols – think hand pieces for drilling, suction and spraying. For our patients’ and our own safety we use gloves and masks anyway, however, the regular type of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene protocols sufficient during normal times do not conform to requirements during a pandemic. There was also a general shortage of PPE in the market.


Not being able to look after our patients the way they deserve was a huge challenge. We had to address tooth aches over the phone and offered an emergency option for critical and emergency cases.


While we couldn’t treat patients, we spent a lot of time during lockdown re-inventing our business and working on systems, as well as enjoying family time. We never thought it would be possible to close down for eight weeks, but we did survive and are glad we pulled through with all our staff retained. Everyone in the team made some sort of sacrifice to enable us to keep everyone on board. It was amazing to see what a great team we have.


Not being able to look after our patients the way they deserve was a huge challenge. We had to address toothaches over the phone and offered an emergency option for critical and emergency cases. patients’ and our own safety we use gloves and masks anyway, however, the regular type of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene protocols sufficient during normal times do not conform to requirements during a pandemic. There was also a general shortage of PPE in the market.

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