COVID-19 Block Exemption for Retail Sector

This exemption encourages retail tenants (even those that are competitors) to meet with shopping mall owners and reach agreements aimed at addressing matters such as payment holidays, rental discounts and limitations on the possibility of being evicted.

APPLICABILITY PERIOD

24 March 2020

This will remain in effect for as long as COVID-19 is declared a national disaster, or until withdrawn by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, whichever comes earlier.

QUALIFYING CRITERIA

Retail tenants must fall into one of the following designated retail categories:

  • Clothing, footwear and home textile retailers – retailers of wearable garments and products and retailers of home textile   products
  • Personal care services – retail outlets providing personal grooming services such as hairdressers, health and beauty salons
  • Restaurants – a business that prepares and serves food and drinks to customers

These categories may be expanded or reduced by the Minister.

To qualify for an exemption the agreements must extend to all South African retail tenants in the designated categories, including small independent retailers.

WHAT EXEMPTIONS ARE OFFERED

The following agreements are exempted, if undertaken at the request of, and in coordination with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition:

  • Payment holidays and/or rental discounts for tenants
  • Limitations on the eviction of tenants

  • The suspension or adjustment to lease agreement clauses that restrict the designated retail tenants from undertaking reasonable measures required to protect viability during the national disaster.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR AN EXEMPTION

The retail property landlords and designated retail tenants must keep minutes of meetings held and written records of agreements or practices falling within the scope of these exemptions.

Written representations on these regulations must be submitted to ministry@economic.gov.za