RESTAURANT operators were emotionally fraught and nervous of another lockdown, according to the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) chief executive Wendy Alberts.
The association is currently undertaking a national roadshow throughout the country’s nine provinces.
“We not only hope to share our love and support with the restaurants we have and will be visiting for the remainder of our Rasa roadshow, but to also explore and identify solutions and preventative measures available to restaurateurs in light of a possible fourth wave looming in the near future,” said Alberts.
Alberts said it was imperative for them to ascertain the devastation that took place within the industry to understand within which parameters the operators have had to run their businesses.
“This includes determining the losses, offering support, offering advice, and understanding what the needs are going forward in the restaurant industry in terms of mobilising and surviving what is to come, and to avoid a further lockdown,” Alberts said.
Alberts said the roadshow had already been both a saddening and encouraging experience, with an overwhelming appreciation shown by owners and employees of restaurants they had visited so far as well as a palpable fear of what a fourth wave and further lockdown restrictions imposed could do to an already exasperated and highly stressed industry.
“It’s been so meaningful and poignant to interact with restaurant owners, chefs and staff at establishments in two of the nine provinces we have visited so far. We have met such beautiful, decent people already who are doing their best to stay open. We really do applaud and recognise those who have survived this incredibly stressful and challenging time for the tourism and hospitality industry. It’s been particularly sad to see some well-established and iconic restaurants like Tan Malie se Winkel having closed down.
“Many of the restaurants still open for business that we visited were very quiet and clearly still taking strain despite things opening up in level one. From the feedback we have been receiving, restaurants have faced many struggles, including a lack of government support and funding, as well as acquiring supplies and being able to pay rent,” Alberts said.
Meanwhile, the end of last month marked a milestone for the restaurant and hospitality industry as the Bottega Restaurant in Johannesburg became the first restaurant in the country to have the Airocide unit that uses Nasa technology installed into its facility by 3Sixty Biopharmaceutical to create clean, clear air that is free from airborne pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
Airocide was made available to South Africa and Africa in September by one of the largest black owned pharmaceutical companies in South Africa, 3Sixty Biopharmaceuticals, which landed the global partnership and exclusive distribution rights from Airocide® SteriLumen, a US-based air purification and infection control technology company.
3Sixty Biopharmaceuticals chief executive Walter Mbatha said that with the real possibility of a fourth wave and increased restrictions being imposed on South Africans over the summer holiday and festive season period, the launch of Airocide into the South African market could not have come at a better time.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE