Halls Fresh Produce fully supports the decisive action taken by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the government to help mitigate the health, labour market and economic impacts of the coronavirus. We are committed to playing our role in supporting food security, promoting best practice health guidelines amongst our employees and the greater community, and supporting our people in this incredibly tough economic environment. We would also like to thank our health workers who are doing everything in their power to keep us safe.
Halls has been declared an essential service during the 21-day, COVID-19 lockdown. This means that the business will continue to operate its farming, processing, packing and distribution operations worldwide in order to help ensure food security on an international level, while the world battles with the devastating health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The well-being of our colleagues is of paramount importance to us. We recognised the real and immediate risks of COVID-19 earlier in the year through the lessons learned via our Halls’ business in China, and this allowed us to effectively communicate healthcare messages to all our employees within Fresh Produce.
The following measures were put in place across all our operations:
- Hygiene education – we have effectively communicated healthcare messages to all our employees.
- Hygiene – we have provided hand sanitizers to our employees and continue to ensure that the offices and operational areas are sanitised with anti-bacterial cleaning solutions throughout the day.
- Social distancing – it was communicated to keep a safe distance away from others of at least 1.5metres at all times. Operationally we have segregated our teams into smaller groups and adjusted our packing lines to maximise the space between people.
- Emergency contact numbers - we have distributed all the relevant national COVID-19 emergency contact numbers to our employees and surrounding communities via posters and brochures.
- Reporting procedures – reporting of illness and absenteeism to the respective line manager and HR measures are in place in order to ensure all our employees are well and safe.
- Travel – prior to lockdown we prohibited all work-related travels and all personal travel was at the employee’s discretion but strongly discouraged.
- Lockdown rules – we are continuously communicating that the lockdown rules are to be adhered to and only if required to, such as going to purchase food, medical supplies or a medical emergency, should our employees leave their home.
- Home working – all employees who are able to work from home are doing so and only those that are essential to the operation of our farming, packing and distribution operations are at work.
- Staying connected – Managers conduct daily check-ins with all their employees over calls/ WhatsApp/video call to ensure constant connectivity
The operational and marketing landscape for fresh produce is changing on an almost hourly basis, dramatically reducing the channels to market outside of the retail supermarkets that will continue trading during the various lockdown periods. Alternative channels for Halls fresh produce are actively being investigated both in Europe and South Africa as market closures continue around the globe.
Over the last 130 years, our business has proven itself resilient through wars, the devastating Spanish Flu of 1918, fruit diseases that essentially wiped out our citrus orchards, economic depression and recessions, droughts, global trade wars and other challenges, but nothing can prepare any business or government for what we are facing with COVID-19. Despite this, the core elements of our strategy, which include stability and sustainability, have brought us into this crisis in a strong position.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Now more than ever, we are committed to providing fresh produce - in the safest way possible.
We encourage everyone to adhere to the necessary measures that have been put in place to help flatten the infection curve and bring this pandemic under control.
- Spread facts, not fear - be mindful of what you share with others and whether the information can be trusted.
- Stay informed - get your news from sources you can trust. Join the WhatsApp support for South Africans (060 012 3456) or go to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) for information
Cover the basics - follow official guidelines by washing your hands regularly, practicing social distancing, and phoning the relevant healthcare provider if you’ve been exposed to someone confirmed positive for the coronavirus.
Our business remains fully operational during this period. Please refer to our contact us page for our office numbers and email address.
Halls. Staying Apart. Growing Together.