As Easter weekend approaches, along with the threat of a possible third wave, talk of harsher lockdown restrictions continue circulate. According to the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa), the industry will remain optimistic, reports EWN.
Restaurants fear that harsher regulations, including reduced trading hours and a possible alcohol ban, could push the already suffering industry beyond breaking point.
According to Rasa CEO Wendy Alberts, the SA government has not provided the industry with adequate support or relief.
“We are left alone to rebuild the industry on our own as entrepreneurs. If there isn’t any support from the government, we can’t afford to be put into any further restrictions.”
The National Liquor Traders Council’s, Lucky Ntimane, says an outright ban would not be sustainable.
“We are saying to government, allow us to trade but let us look at the issue of restriction. But we have seen from the research that was done by the industry that mobility plays a key part in reducing the number of transmissions. We think that the issue of curfew is something that the government needs to look at as a way to curb the spread of the virus.”
While it’s understood that these measures are put in place to reduce transmission, industry role-players fear for the livelihoods of all involved in the sector.
“I just hope that there are lessons that have been learned over the last year. Although we are no COVID experts, I think a year into it we certainly can for the scientific evidence as well as the proper actual research that should be taking place in terms of where the vulnerability sits – which I can assure is not in the restaurant sector.
“The entire value chain, over the last 12 months, has been severely disrupted. This doesn’t only begin and end with the restaurant, the extended businesses and entrepreneurial services that we support is a mammoth amount of people that have been decimated over the last year. We have also seen how many thousands of restaurants that are iconic to South Africa have been closed on tourism that has not been able to recover,” said Wendy Alberts from the association.