The pandemic has wrought havoc in the economy and in particular, the hospitality industry.
The Guest House sector of hospitality is essentially a mom-and-pop industry that is vulnerable to shocks. It is not an industry that has large resources to smooth over bumps in the road. The start of the pandemic was sudden and caught most Guest Houses off guard. Guest Houses find themselves in no-mans-land where high municipal rates, maintenance, interest rates and salaries are a constant drain on resources.
To his credit, our local councillor at the time, Clr Iverson, came to the party to have the council reduce our rates and taxes equivalent to residential for the duration. Bed night prices plunged as everyone was trying to get market share and inflation bit into increases in cost. Many Guest Houses have not survived and those that have, have done so on the thinnest thread.
Could this be the beginning of the end? All the indicators are there, and hope springs eternal. Schools and Universities have reopened, and travel is slowly starting to come back. Inflation now looms as the larges threat.
How pleasant it is to see the students walking up to campus. The chatter and music sooths the concerns to the economy in university towns like Rondebosch and Stellenbosch. Restaurants are looking better, and the stores are feeling the flows of cash into the local economy. Schools have returned and though one would not always welcome it, the morning and afternoon traffic gives an indication of return to normality.
Tourists are back, albeit not in full flow. The Cape Town waterfront has picked up and tourist operators will resume their variety of services. One wonders why the vaccine passport is not used for large gathering at concerts and sporting events.
We have developed some form of immunity through vaccination and natural anti-bodies. Research shows a future where not only past and present viruses are vaccinated against, but also future possible viruses, including the common cold. This new development of research promises to include cures for cancers, vaccines for malaria and a wide range of personal medications. When enough resources and energy are harnessed, we can as a species achieve much.
Now to find a vaccine against tribalism and war.