Restaurant Association concerned over restaurants flouting COVID-19 regulations

There could be a clampdown on restaurants for flouting coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown regulations. The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) is concerned that ignoring the rules could result in the closure of the sector yet again.

RASA says it’s been receiving reports of restaurants operating past the curfew, of not adhering to social distancing protocols and allowing patrons onto their premises without masks.

Level 2 made it possible again to wine and dine at the restaurant. But strict lockdown regulations must be observed geared at minimising the spread of the corona-virus. Not everyone has been following the guidelines.

There have been numerous reports of restaurants operating beyond the 10 pm curfew and some have been accused of selling alcohol as a take- away.

The Restaurant Association has slammed this behavior and its spokesperson, Wendy Alberts, has warned it could have a devastating impact on the sector.

“The last 25 weeks have certainly shown how much pain the restaurant industry has been in. Many people have lost their businesses; many people have lost their livelihoods, their dreams and hope. We don’t want to be back into any negative space and move backward.  We have come this far and we really are trying desperately hard with various supply partners, government, banks, landlords. We are certainly asking for everyone’s support to bring the restaurants back to its greater normality.”

Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has also raised concern over the non-compliance. Her spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota says that restaurants could pay dearly for flouting the regulations.

“This does not only risk these business licenses but also endangering the safety of their loyal customers and dedicated workers. The Minister has today written letters to restaurants insisting and appealing yet again for their co-operation, as the sector cannot risk having any of our hard-earned gains made thus far reversed as this will have a devastating impact on the recovery of the sector.

“Food and beverage is a major part of the Gauteng tourism sector and the easing of restrictions has brought much-needed relief to the alcohol and food industry. Gauteng Tourism Authority spokesperson, Barba Gaoganediwe says small businesses mustn’t waste the lifeline they’ve been given.”

“Tourism 2020 comes at a time when the country is reeling through the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus. We are however cautiously excited as the sector is gradually opening and domestic tourism said to anchor the much-needed recovery. We have world-class heritage sites, museums and nature reserves, quality dining and outdoor infrastructure. From Mogodu wrap in Hamaanskraal to Alex skop, Soweto kota, Fordsburg biriyani to rooftop Shampopo joints. We just need to observe the protocols, train our staff, sell affordable packages and make living life local our preoccupation. As we celebrate tourism and heritage month 2020, let make it about our food, our heritage and our shared stories.”

Gaoganediwe says it’s essential for domestic tourism’s recovery that they comply with the Level 2 COVID-19 rules.

The video below looks at the impact of lockdown on the restaurant industry: 

[embedded content]

Source: SABC News (