Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

Restaurants to feel pinch of 21-day Covid-19 lockdown

By Gift Tlou Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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Like any other business, restaurants across the country will feel the pinch during the 21-day lockdown period announced on Monday night by President Cyril Ramaphosa to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

The president urged citizens to keep a social distance and avoid going out unnecessarily. Supermarkets and other essential stores would continue to operate but restaurants would be on lockdown.

Branchini La-La, owner at Ristorante La Trinita, said the lockdown would severely hurt them and that they would be forced to delve into their personal savings account to sustain staff members since they wouldn't be working.

“It is something we’ve been expecting but it will have a major impact on our bank accounts. Truth of the matter is that we cannot turn our back on our staff members so we will try to assist them financially during this tough time.”

The restaurateur added that the recent alcohol trading hours restrictions by Police Minister Bheki Cele has only made matters worse. “We come from a difficult weekend where we were not allowed to sell alcohol freely and it came unexpected; we lost about 80% of profit.”

She said her restaurant wasn’t concerned about stock going to waste during the lockdown period since they knew that a shutdown was on the horizon.

Paul Harmse, Papachinos Boksburg senior manager, informed The Star that the announcement of a lockdown didn’t surprise them.

“It was time, something needed to be done and our president has taken the measures we need to abide.”

Harmse said Papachinos Boksburg wasn’t receiving stock in bulk lately.

"We were buying from our retailers such as Woolworths and Checkers on a daily basis so we don’t have stock that will go to waste; we’ve been monitoring the stock closely,” he explained.

He said only beverages would be left behind at the restaurant during the lockdown.

“We will have further meetings with the rest of the management team on how we are going to deal with staff and other matters but as things stand we are shutting on Thursday.”

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