Cell C, Vodacom reopen retail outlets

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 12 May 2020

Cell C and Vodacom have opened their stores under strict COVID-19 level four regulations.

Telecommunications had been classified under essential services from the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown; however, the shops weren’t open when the stringent measures to reduce the spread of the virus were introduced in March.

However, last week, the government peeled back restrictions on some industries, which also included the opening of stores owned by mobile operators.

Cell C says it commenced opening its retail outlets in stages from 1 May in line with the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown measures from level five to level four. It says over of 96% of its stores are open.

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers is our main focus during this time,” says Cell C acting COO Andre Ittmann.

“We urge customers and employees to please adhere to the safety measures put in place and to keep themselves safe. We will continue to assess these measures to ensure the highest standards are maintained.”

The stores are, however, trading within limited time lines of between 09h00 and 17h00 on weekdays and 09h00 and 13h00 on weekends.

Additionally, Cell C says limited staff members will be working in each store to help with social distancing and it urges customers to observe social distancing in each store.

“Cell C has also distributed protective personal equipment (PPE) to all of the reopened stores to ensure employee and customer safety, in adherence with government requirements during the level four COVID-19 lockdown,” says Cell C.

Similarly, Vodacom has also resumed operations.

The telco says it is servicing many of its customers using various independent retail outlets, most of which have opened their doors in line with level four requirements.

“The safety and protection of our employees remains of utmost importance and all of our stores will continue to follow strict hygiene and social distancing practices. During this time, we will further ensure the necessary PPE (including masks) are available for staff and that we fully comply with government directives,” says a Vodacom spokesperson.

Meanwhile, MTN resumed some of its activities last week “subject to extreme precautions to limit community transmission and outbreaks”.

Jacqui O’Sullivan, executive for corporate affairs at MTN SA, told ITWeb the operation of these stores was being done in accordance with specific conditions set up by the National Coronavirus Command Council and the Department of Health.

“To ensure our employees are protected, MTN has put various proactive measures in place and has formulated a workplace plan to prevent the spread of infection,” she said.