Cape Town – The restaurant industry is pleading with the government to allow the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption before the industry faces collapse.
Restaurants Association of South Africa chairperson Wendy Alberts said: “The decision has decimated the industry, they have closed our industry without any consultation or without any warnings whatsoever. Every single day I have been receiving phone calls about restaurants closing their doors for good.”
Alberts said in one day she received 11 phone calls.
“Off-site alcohol consumption is what many restaurants rely on and restaurants have played their part, but now they do not seem to care about any of us,” she said.
The adjusted level 3 regulations were gazetted last year and contain further restrictions and stricter penalties for non-compliance with a view to curbing the spread of the virus while retaining a functioning economy as far as possible.
These include a stricter curfew time, a ban on the country’s beaches, as well as a prohibition on the sale of alcohol.
The Liquor Traders Association of South Africa is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to review the current regulations urgently.
Convener Lucky Ntimane said: “Liquor traders continue to suffer the brunt of the lockdowns first implemented by the president on the 26th March 2020. Out of the 284 days that the country has been on some measure of lockdown, liquor traders have not been able to trade in liquor for +100 days with no government support whatsoever to cushion against this blow. Closure is the immediate reality faced by the majority of 34 500 taverns (and this includes shebeen permit holders).”
South African Liquor Brandowners Association chairperson Sibani Mngadi said: “There is no greater risk of Covid-19 infection associated with the sale of alcohol for home consumption. Off-site consumption channel operates exactly like any grocery shop. Government has not provided a reason for closing the off-site consumption and there is no justification for the ban to continue beyond the January 15 review of the current lockdown.”