Dear Valued Partner,
May 1st marked the beginning of Level 4 lockdown following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Risk Adjusted Strategy announcement to the nation. We commend this decision as it is a step towards ensuring our country gradually resumes its economic activities, which were halted during the five-week national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Safety is priority #1
As a provider of an essential service to the economy, our business continues to operate through this next phase of lockdown. In order to do so while ensuring the health of all employees required to be on site, we have meticulously implemented the health and safety guidelines stipulated by government and our own expert medical advisors, including the following:
- All employees are required to wear approved face masks at all times. This includes our forecourt staff at all 850 Caltex service stations.
- Providing complimentary alcohol-based sanitizers across all our locations.
- Ensuring that if employees are sick or have symptoms associated with Covid-19, they must not come to work.
- Screening our people when they arrive for work and following the strict procedures in place to safely deal with any employee showing any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19.
- Ensuring that employees and customers maintain social distancing principles at all times and using floor markings where necessary to help with this.
- Increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all locations, including regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, and other frequently touched surfaces.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the measures we have implemented but shows the extent to which we have swiftly adapted our ways of working to the extreme circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Of course, all Astron Energy employees who work in a role that can be done effectively from home will continue to do so in the immediate future. We are fully utilising all the technology and communication tools at our disposal to stay connected and engaged while physically apart.
Lending a helping hand
With the economy still largely under lockdown, many businesses, including our own, have suffered the effects of radically reduced demand and ongoing consumer uncertainty. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they have limited cash reserves and no access to liquidity. As a result, we have been collaborating closely with our retail partners to offer whatever support we can to help them weather the crisis. This includes a range of financial concessions such as extended payment terms and rental relief. We are also supporting our retailers by supplying 36,000 fabric face masks to all service stations staff around the country and continue to provide them with regular updates, guidelines and training material to help them keep their frontline employees and customers safe.
Now more than ever, supporting the communities where we live and work adds meaning and purpose to Astron Energy’s role in society. The impact of the pandemic and the subsequent economic lockdown on our communities has been overwhelming as millions face food shortages and little or no access to clean water and sanitization. The World Health Organization has outlined the most immediate and critical strategies to tackle the outbreak and accordingly, we have focused our social investment funding on efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic. We are working with a number of partner organizations such as Gift of the Givers, Rise Against Hunger and the National Business Initiative to provide, amongst other necessities, PRC testing kits, community handwashing stations, free masks and sanitizers, and food relief to vulnerable families.
Our relief efforts have been supplemented by an allocation from the Glencore Global Community Fund, established by our majority shareholders to help to ease the burden of Covid-19 in the countries where the company has operations. This is a demonstration of both the value of a major global shareholder and the power of pooling resources in the fight against this global pandemic.
While we are not certain of when we will completely emerge from this crisis, we are firm in our commitment to supporting the government’s plan to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus while slowly rebuilding the economy. I thank you all for joining us in this fight.
Please stay safe.