Durban restaurant owners ’over the moon’ about lockdown level 1
Durban – THE 10pm curfew will be a thing of the past for Florida and Lighthouse roads when level 1 of the national lockdown comes into effect next week.
Over the past few months restaurants have been on their knees after being closed during the lockdown. Alcohol and curfew restrictions have also prevented them from making a profit after they were able to open for limited hours.
Nearly a month ago the hospitality industry was overjoyed to be trading in alcoholic beverages again after the announcement of level 2 of the lockdown.
On Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the curfew would apply between midnight and 4am under level 1, while alcohol would be allowed for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only and with strict adherence to the curfew.
Ramaphosa also said venues for entertainment, which were limited to no more than 50 people, would now be allowed to accommodate up to 50% of their venue’s capacity as determined by available floor space, subject to physical distancing and other health protocols.
These changes mean restaurants will be able to recoup a lot of the revenue they lost when they were closed.
Butcher Boys uMhlanga and Florida Road partner Derryck Myers said they were “absolutely over the moon”. With the curfew at 10pm, they had to close their kitchen at 8.30pm so they could get meals done and patrons and staff could get home.
“Now with a midnight curfew, we can operate our normal times. We don’t have to rush people. It’s fantastic. Staff can start earning a few more hours. It helps them as well because they were on short time.”
Myers said they were extremely happy and it was great for the industry all round.
It would take at least a year to 18 months for them to recoup the revenue they lost, he said.
However, that was dependent on whether business went back to normal and there were international tourists because they were a big part of their business.
Lord Prawn uMhlanga manager Gerhard Rothmann said it was quite exciting that level 1 was on the horizon. With the change in the curfew time being one of the aspects they were most grateful for, restaurants could now operate until later.
“It’s a really great emotional change for people. Now we don’t have to rush them. It’s sad to see their faces drop when I go to their table before 9pm and tell them I have to bring them their bill and I have to get my staff out of here,” said Rothmann.
Meanwhile, Tourism Business Council of South Africa chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said level 1 would allow the industry to take advantage of the peak holiday travel season and launch its resuscitation bid.
The lifting of travel curbs was a win for travellers, suppliers and the entire tourism value chain.