Business

For the health & wellbeing of newborn babies and toddlers.

This post is for any business owners who sell baby products and would like to continue trading during COVID-19. I am writing this post by request of these business owners in the baby industry who have asked for advice.

We received news through the grapevine on Wednesday that the sale of products for the care of babies and toddlers are now essential items. This came to me in the form of this article and this article.

So I contacted my lawyers immediately and asked what the update to the lockdown regulations stated and if we (Ubuntu Baba) fell within that category. To quote:

“Products for the care of babies and toddlers are essential goods in terms of the Lockdown regulations, and your product would accordingly qualify.”

Here is the link to the Disaster Management Act – scroll down to:
Addition of Annexures to the Regulations
Annexure B
Categorization of essential goods & services during lockdown
Regulation 11A
2. Cleaning & Hygiene Products
(iv) Products for the Care of Babies & Toddlers

Then there is this article which was meant to provide some clarification and it states:

Trade and Industry clarifies sale of products for the care of babies and toddlers during the Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown period

“Following requests for clarification, we confirm that this provision includes baby clothes, blankets, towels and other essential accessories for new-borns, infants and toddlers up to 36 months old.”

It then states:

“To ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown in containing the spread of COVID-19, all stores that are currently permitted to remain open for the sale of other essential goods, including supermarkets, may therefore sell these products. We have been in contact with the CEO’s of the large retailers, who have undertaken to sell these products at prices which simply cover their basic costs of production and distribution for the period of the lockdown.”

What it does not state:

  • It does not state that small business owners who sell essential products for the care of babies and toddlers may NOT trade.
  • The small business owners who are able to bring minimal staff back to work, apply social distancing in a sanitized work environment with much higher controls than most of these ‘large retailers’ are currently doing.
  • In it’s most basic form, the Disaster Management Act allows for the sale of products for the care of babies and toddlers.

If they want to edit their ‘Disaster Management Act’…

To include the detail about the part where only ‘large retailers’ are able to trade in these essential baby items and not small businesses… because in every single other category small businesses are allowed to trade…

Then that would be blatant discrimination against small business owners in only 1 specific category and that is unconstitutional.

And can I tell you something. If the baby industry was a man’s world, we would not be having this conversation. A businessman would grab this opportunity by the the balls and trade. But as women we are always looking for someone to give us a golden invitation to take advantage of an opportunity.

It’s time to stand up for ourselves and do what we can to save our already dying businesses. Because the health and wellbeing of babies and their caregivers matter. And our products can help them significantly during this lockdown period.

So in my opinion, (and no I’m not a lawyer but I have the best on my side), if you consider the baby item you sell to be an essential item for the care of babies and toddlers and you can justify that if questioned, (in our case there is scientific evidence surrounding the benefits of babywearing for the health and wellbeing of babies and their caregivers, never mind the fact that we have to fucking work full time, parent and homeschool and babywearing makes that manageable…) then go forth and trade – yes maybe, we’re taking a risk (or simply taking advantage of a loophole that the government put there) but it’s a risk I’m willing to fight for and I am not scared to challenge another ‘big bully’ discriminating against small businesses.

If you do decide to trade, do so safely, mindfully and in line with the law – which is the Disaster Management Act (not media articles) – make sure you get your CIPC certificate to trade (‘Production and sale category A regulations goods’ for the sale of essential baby items) and make sure your staff that you bring back to work are carrying the correct documentation and following health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19 at all times.

Much love and see you on the other side. xx

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