DISRUPTION AT ITS PEAK: POCKMARK OF COVID-19 ON IMMIGRANT RETAIL BUSINESS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Journal of Public Administration 55 (4):675-687 (2020)
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Abstract
The Covid-19 pandemic has left a trail of untold damage in many countries, and there is no foreseeable end to its spread. Besides the loss of life, the impact of the virus on the economy and small businesses, in particular, is not yet clear. Even so, the policies aimed at containing the spread of the virus have exerted further pressure and uncertainty on the survival of small businesses in general and immigrant-owned businesses in particu­lar. This study explored the pockmark of C0VID-19 on immigrant retail businesses in selected outlets in West Rand, Johannesburg. A qualitative research approach was adopted as it best supports the exploratory intent of the study. The purposive sampling technique was utilised to draw participants for the study until a saturation point was attained. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews using unstructured, open-ended questions, with interviews recorded and transcribed. Atlas-ti 8 software was used to code, categorise and analyse the data to form themes and patterns, which helped to inform the outcome of the study. Findings indicate that none of the immigrant businesses was prepared for the pandemic and lockdown. Furthermore, it was found that most of the businesses may cease to exist due to cash fragility should the lockdown be extended for a longer period and the pandemic not abate soon. Despite the government having announced some palliative measures to help reduce the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on small businesses, results from this study indicate that immigrant businesses received no such support from the government.
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