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Tshwane businesses prepare for level 2 lockdown

A file picture of the manager at Tops Liquor Store in The Grove mall, De Villiers Aveling, checking stock. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of the manager at Tops Liquor Store in The Grove mall, De Villiers Aveling, checking stock. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 17, 2020

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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane's tourism industry is ready to recover the sector following the government decision to ease regulations to level 2 lockdown.

Business people in hospitality, restaurants, alcohol retail, accommodation and taverns said they've started preparing their business premises and placing orders for alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.

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Susan Marais, who owns the Marais Guest Houses, said her team was so happy yesterday and they couldn't wait for provincial borders to reopen tomorrow.

"This is very good for doing business, and very good for jobs and job creation. We are overjoyed and we believe it is the beginning of the recovery of our economy from the impact of this pandemic," she said.

Chairperson of the restaurants charter at the Tshwane Tourism Association, Christian Maiorana, said decisions to lift the suspension of the sale of alcohol and cigarettes will certainly motivate restaurants that were afraid to open.

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"Restaurants made most of their revenue from alcohol because people normally wanted a beer or wine with their meals, that's why we are happy that many of our colleagues will come back to business and jobs can be saved.

"Without alcohol, we were only generating around 40% of our normal revenue and for that reason some restaurants never opened, and some who opened were forced to close shortly after. We are confident we are going to see some improvement in the industry although some people will wait a bit to receive stock of their alcohol," he said.

Chairperson of the Tshwane Tourism Association, Bronwen Cadle de Ponde said she was pleased the government had lifted some of the restrictions that had been hampering the sector’s rebound.

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"We are grateful to the Tourism Business Council of South African and it’s chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivenga for tirelessly putting forward all of our industry’s requests and proposals to the national government to motivate for the reopening of our sector and the lifting of regulations.

"Without the continuous very hard work and determined lobbying by the council, on all our behalf, we may very well still be facing the originally cited timeline for lifting of some regulations which foretold only reopening next year.

"For those who are no longer held back by restrictions on interprovincial travel, the sale of liquor for onsite consumption and hosting of social events for up to 50 people may the coming week and months be good enough to make up for the losses that they have incurred.

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"We hope too that some businesses who were looking at having to close permanently can now turn that situation around," she said.

Alcohol retailer and managing director of Tops at the Spar in Lynnwood Lane and Wapadrand, Hendri van der Walt, said his team was busy cleaning the stores, placing prices and organising stock in anticipation of long queues from tomorrow.

"People have already been calling and trying to place pre-orders on cigarettes and alcohol but we've opted not to allow for that so that we give everyone a fair chance. In fact, we are going to limit the number of items each person can purchase. It will take some waiting to have all stock delivered," he said.

President of the Concerned Tshwane Liquor Traders Association Oupa Mthombeni said ttaverns and shebeens had also started placing orders and cleaning their business premises to ensure they didn’t give the government any reason to suspend the sale of alcohol again.

"We are also creating awareness and speaking to our taverns and shebeen owners to trade responsibly. We're also keeping an ear open to find out if the government will allow music in our business premises because music makes people gather, and there is that 50 people limit," he said.

*For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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