Black restaurants battling under level 3 lockdown
Itumeleng Rametsi, the owner of Legacy restaurant in Arcadia, said their situation was worsened by the fact not much support had come their way.
“We have only seen numbers on television about grants for this and that. The goal posts are shifting constantly and it’s hard for black businesses to cope.
“Applying for UIF comes with its own challenges and the way this is going I foresee many businesses in the tourism sector closing by the end of September.”
He said it was challenging to work in the cuisine industry as a black person.
“We serve African food in a business residential area; there are not many black people in this side of town. No one is working at the moment. The embassies and businesses around us are closed.”
He said the restaurant had been surviving through meagre catering jobs lately, and he had let some of his 22 employees go since the lockdown began.
“The sad reality is that we have bodies and organisations that should push tourism We are in the capital city but there is really no support. We have not seen that impact and support we should be getting in this time from such bodies.
“As a small business, we are in the dark and working by grace at this point. Even during normal times I do not see a lot of foot traffic, there is a lot of white dominance.”
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who was at the restaurant to check how it was doing, said the industry was on its knees as the lockdown had halted activities.
“I do have hope that as we open, the little they make can sustain them until there are safer conditions.
“Most have processed the new normal which is Covid-19, and have adjusted to that. The sanitising is in place and owners are ready for such.
“We know there has been a furore, we must make the industry inclusive so the small guy survives. We are trying to balance. Whatever requirements of big business, we will also look if small businesses can do that so they are not left behind.
“It’s not easy; we cannot just open for sit-downs. People have expectations of what safety can and should be. For restaurants and small guys, let us not allow them to be closed, but to help them through this period.”
She said the industry's small guys such as tour guides were facing tough times, and the industry had an obligation to help them.
“Relief and support means won’t help; reopening the sector is what we need to do right now.
“We have worked hard; we have protocols written down; we are ready and they are ready in document form and videos for the tourism sector to show them what they need to do daily.”
She said the industry was almost 100% ready.
“Covid-19 is the new normal, and we need to make sure that tourism has certain rules so that staff will be ready to reopen,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.