“I am so pleased to be back at work!” said one retail employee in Cape Town, as the coronavirus lockdown eased to permit certain trading on Monday.
“Just sitting at home doing nothing…” Peter Philander, a sales assistant at a bed company in Sea Point, trails off. “It feels hopeful to be doing something.”
Philander was one of those individuals who was allowed to return to his work during Level 4 of the nationwide lockdown, as the bed company he works for can trade under the new restrictions.
No furniture is allowed to be sold, but bed-related sales are permitted.
He said he already had one order for a bed under his belt by 10:00 on Monday.
“It’s for an old man who just couldn’t take the back pain anymore.”
He said that the worst part of the lockdown was not being able to travel from his home in Mitchells Plain, to Klapmuts near Paarl, to see family.
Most of the shops along the main road in Sea Point were still closed – not yet permitted to trade.
Some shops had signs inviting people to WhatsApp for home deliveries.
The Whitehouse homeware shop was only allowed to sell a few items, such as bed sheets, with a sign prohibiting the sale of the straw laundry baskets.
Staff wore matching stone-coloured masks which would also go on sale shortly as they dusted after such a long closure.
A MyCiTi bus to Hangberg in Hout Bay was among a few of the buses on the road, as traffic resembled an early Sunday morning, and not the usual busy Monday.
“The clementine are very sweet!” said a fruit vendor offering a packet.
“R20 for two nice ripe avocados,” he added.
Most of the business seemed to be taking place around banks, with queues forming outside at the ATMs.