Uncertain whether Workshop 17 will remain open or not during SA’s Covid-19 lockdown


It is uncertain whether one of SA’s leading co-working organisation’s Workshop 17 would completely close or not during South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, which is set to commence at midnight tomorrow.

While at least two other co-working organisations in Cape Town have closed, namely RLabs and Absa’s WorkInProgress, Workshop 17 may still stay open, at least for those performing essential services.

These include, among other, such services as power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services and others (see the list here).

In an emailed newsletter yesterday, CEO Paul Keursten (pictured above) said: “We are committed to allowing members who fall under the essential services, as outlined by the government, to continue operating from our locations. If you are in this category, please let us know if you still need access, by replying to this mail, and we will make arrangements. The list of essential services can be found here.”

Workshop 17 is in contact with landlords on whether to remain open for essential service providers during the lockdown

Ventureburn contacted Keursten this morning. He responded by email saying that Workshop 17 is liaising with its landlords regarding the lockdown.

“Landlords need to operate where there are essential services and still have a role to manage the buildings. Security will continue,” he said.

The co-working company has spaces in Cape Town (Watershed, The Harrington, Kloof Street, Tabakhuis) and Johannesburg (Firestation, West Street, Maboneng).

“We don’t know yet if the essential service role applies to any of our members in such a way that the need to come into Workshop 17.

“But we feel we have a responsibility should that be the case. And if that comes up, we will make the best arrangements we can make following the president’s and government’s guidelines.

“New directives and information are coming out from government every day. And we accommodate as we go. Learning on our feet.

“As I wrote, no one has all the answers yet. And many have questions. The best we can do is to be informed, be aligned, be careful, be conscious and responsible and learn as fast as we can,” he said.

In an email to Ventureburn on Friday (20 March), Keursten said Workshop 17 is “doing all that is advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and adding more measures every day, as we learn and work to stay on top of all developments”.

This includes, among other measures, disinfecting thoroughly regularly and advising any member that has travelled outside South Africa, to self-isolate for 14 days.

Read more: SA co-working spaces firm Workshop 17 eyeing African expansion, but only from 2021

Featured image: Workshop 17 CEO Paul Keursten (Supplied)



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