Struggling to survive lockdown

Neil Doveton selling fish to earn some income.

Neil and Sherene Doveton, Bergvliet

Hi, our names are Neil and Sherene Doveton and we own The Cutting Room in Kommetjie Road, Fish Hoek, and the one in Longbeach Mall.

We have been in the valley for 15 years, and it’s been a crazy ride. We have withstood water restrictions, load shedding, spent fortunes on setting up salons in order to run with water and electricity. Now we’re hit with the virus.

Who could or would ever have thought? We have had no income for eight weeks (nearly nine), and we have staff that are sole breadwinners.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund pays a minimal amount if anything at all. We get no relief from government for our businesses. We have landlords that still need to be paid, never mind insurance, Telkom accounts, security etc. The bills are endless and we have no relief.

Who knows how much longer we will be able to withstand this before closing our doors?

What I can say is we are fighters and will try everything we can to stay open as we miss and love our loyal clients who have become our family over the years. We have even started selling fish to bring in money to try to continue paying landlords. Although it’s not a lot, every little bit helps. Anything to make sure we have something to go back to.

Clients are begging us to do their hair from home. We can’t do this as we cannot afford to lose our licences or get locked up. Yes, there are many people doing this in the valley, but I feel now is the time we need to come together and stick together and help each other in our industry instead of fighting against each other as together we are stronger.

The support of our staff has been mind blowing, and we know that we would be unable to carry on this fight if it weren’t for the fact
that we are thinking of them and their families too. We are the most sanitary industry yet we can’t work. Fifty people can be at a gathering and seven in a taxi (although we have counted 12 to 13 pretty often).

It makes no sense that we can’t go back, adhering to strict guidelines.