THE coronavirus, which has the world in a panic, has hit local fashion designers hard in their pockets after the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) announced this week that the 14th edition of the South African Film and Television Awards won’t go ahead as planned.

The awards were scheduled for next weekend. But the decision to shelve the event has put breaks on designers, who were already working on outfits to dress some of Mzansi’s top stars, who were pencilled to attend the event.

Founder of Antherline Couture, Matome Seshoka said he was feeling the pinch, as production has come to a standstill.

“I’ve had to stop production, which means losing a lot of money,” he said.

“In addition to that, because of the Coronavirus I had to tell some staff to stay at home.”

The designer said he had to cancel his clients’ orders for outfits because the event has been shelved.

Another well-known designer, Otsile Sefolo, said it wasn’t only the cancellation of the awards that affected them financially, but also weddings that have been cancelled.

“People have already placed their orders and now are cancelling because they don’t know when things will get back to normal.

“It’s really bad, if things don’t improve, we might not survive this.”

He said should things stay they way they are, he would be forced to downsize on staff or people would just have to stay home without pay.

Meanwhile, Nkululeko Dhlamini, who works for Instinctif Partners – the company that does publicity, said the NFVF would next week meet with all the relevant stakeholders to map out a way forward.

“Unfortunately, we have to heed the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa, because we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation that can be prevented,” he said.