The Johannesburg suburb of Linden always offered residents and patrons a friendly welcome with its cozy restaurants, pavement cafes and boutiques.
Busy parking areas, bustling cafes and popular restaurants are what was the norm just a few months ago. A visit to the popular Linden neighbourhood, in Northern Johannesburg, reveals that it is not what it used to be. As a result of the regulations placed on restaurants, bars and other businesses, the suburb of Linden in Johannesburg, no longer has the usual energy and vibrance that it once did. Many of the local small businesses have closed their doors.
TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT CLOSURES
It is most likely that the Linden community will not be the same again, without some of the friendly local businesses which residents have come to rely on. Many of the small privately owned businesses cannot afford to keep the doors open while customers are unable to support them during this period.
Several restaurants remain closed. A glimpse through the windows of numerous eateries paints a sad picture. Tables and chairs appear not to have been used in months. Cloth coverings have been draped over indoor equipment and machinery – to prevent the gathering of dust.
Meanwhile, other eateries have closed their doors for good. Looking through their front windows, stacked chairs, tables and other inventory is clearly being permanently removed from the premises. Signposts out front, which used to proudly bear business names, now stand empty.
IT IS NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL
The truth is that the business closures are not restricted to the restaurant sector. The suburb of Linden is also home to many small service-oriented businesses. Hair salons, nail bars, dietetic clinics and bespoke jewellers are found in the area.
Unfortunately, some of these businesses have also become victims. Glancing through the shopfront windows of a nail bar, a dietetic clinic and a hair salon, one can see bare floors and empty shops. These are the sad signs of businesses which were once able to pay their rents, employ staff, pay salaries and serve their customers.
Walking past businesses which had their doors open, showed how desperate the situation is. One of the hair salons did not have a single customer in the shop. The staff were standing at the back of the shop, discussing their fate if things did not improve. Another hair salon had a closed sign in the window — evidence of having insufficient clientele to warrant opening the doors. While another had permanently closed down.
PLEA FOR SUPPORT
Many of the businesses in Linden face a grim future if they do not get customers through their doors. Messages written on display boards outside remind one that customers are wanted and needed. With social distancing, sanitising and personal protective equipment in place, customers can safely and confidently return to these small businesses.
Let’s support small businesses from collapsing, and save this authentic suburb.
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