Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

Coronavirus in SA: Busy airport restaurant already struggling as social distancing keeps patrons away

By Staff reporter Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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Cape Town - Airports are usually a hive of arrivals, departures and passengers killing time in restaurants, bars and shops while waiting for connecting flights. But the coronavirus has already changed that.

Restaurants and bars are among the hardest hit businesses as South Africa prepares for a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. For the past few weeks government has actively been encouraging social distancing and by Monday it was clear that the public is taking the message seriously as many shops and restaurants were virtually empty. 

The Spur at Cape Town International was almost completely empty and Business Report editor Adri Senekal de Wet popped in for a cup of coffee.

"It's very bad and it's a big worry for all of us working at the airport. We have lost a lot of customers. Before this whole thing, we used to have R100 000 something everyday but last night we have had the lowest turnover ever witnessed in years. There was only R35 000 that came in. The store was open since 4:30 in the morning until 9pm in the evening so its a huge knock for us and is really affecting businesses. As a result we all worry about what is going to happen next," said manager Serge Tshisumpa.

Although extra hand sanitisers cut into business costs, Tshisumpa maintains the safety of customers always comes first.

Manager Serge Tshisumpa Picture: Supplied


"Even though it costs money, we have to be human and look after each other. It's a huge thing we are dealing with so safety is important for us. Never mind the money lost, as long as we look after the customers and things get better, we will recover."

The Department of Small Business Development announced last week it would launch a debt relief fund to help companies in distress.

Businesses would need to show they had been affected by the virus. It would be able to pay for its operations and pay wages for workers.

These measures were taken by the government to deal with the impact of the disease on businesses.

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