Restaurants have been given the green light to operate again under Level 3 restrictions, and many are reopening on Monday, June 29. Without the sale of alcohol permitted, some are reconsidering whether it is worth reopening right now. The Restaurant Association of South Africa is not happy with this ruling and is demanding an explanation from government as to why alcohol sales are prohibited during restaurant service.
On Friday, June 26 Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced rules and regulations regarding the re-opening of restaurants. Included in the new regulations, Kubayi-Ngubane said the consumption of alcohol on site will not be allowed, however, it may be purchased and taken home. She further added that the regulation of alcohol is the responsibility of the Trade and Industry department, whose regulations state that alcohol must be consumed off-site.
Many restaurants will remain closed as a result of this, as it is not feasible for them to open without the sale of alcohol being allowed.
Speaking to eNCA, the Restaurant Association of South Africa CEO Wendy Alberts said, “We were very excited to get the green light to go to reopen industry. As you well know it’s been an industry that’s decimated. We’ve been hit the hardest amongst all industries and it’s been a journey to get our doors open.”
“There was absolutely no reason for them not to have included alcohol sales within the scope of our restaurants. We are license holders, we are responsible liquor dispensers, we’ve been liquor dispensers for years, we pay a premium for our liquor licenses, and it makes absolutely no financial sense to open doors for sit-down without the full experience that allows customers to come and enjoy both the meal and wine or beer in our restaurants,” she explained.
Alberts said they have requested an explanation from government as to why it is a high risk for restaurants to serve alcohol. Once they have received a response, they will decide on how to move forward.
The government has been given seven days to respond with written reasons, according to eNCA.