Restaurants and hotels reopening guidelines

Restaurants have urged the government not to impose strict new alcohol and curfew lockdown restrictions. Image via: Adobe Stock

Restaurants urge Ramaphosa not to impose alcohol ban, curfew

Restaurants have welcomed the government’s move to consider low hospitalisation rates and have advised it not to impose harsh lockdown rules.

Restaurants and hotels reopening guidelines

Restaurants have urged the government not to impose strict new alcohol and curfew lockdown restrictions. Image via: Adobe Stock

The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) has welcomed the government’s move to focus more in the rate of hospitalisations than on new Covid-19 infections as the country deals with the Omicron variant of the virus.

“RASA would like to thank The President of South Africa and our Government for the sensible approach they have taken in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19,” RASA CEO Wendy Albert said on Tuesday.

 “The change in viewing data regarding the severity of the new variant by looking at hospitalisations as opposed to new rate of infections was a favourable shift in understanding the wave in both balancing lives versus livelihoods and the need to protect our economy,” she said.

Alberts said RASA supported Ramaphosa’s statements that travel restrictions imposed by some foreign governments were unscientific and hasty.

“It is encouraging, in our view, that although the rate of new infections has increased sharply over the past few weeks, hospitalisations and deaths remain very low compared to previous waves, and the medical fraternity is now speaking of a ‘decoupling’ between the number of new cases versus the number of hospitalisations and severe cases requiring oxygen support,” Alberts said.

 “In light of these developments, RASA is hopeful that travel restrictions will be lifted soon and at least part of the peak foreign tourism season may be salvaged. We hope that the South African government will engage its foreign counterparts as a matter of urgency to reverse their unfortunate decision to impose restrictions on travellers from our country,” she said.

 She said it was also critical that no further restrictions were imposed which would suffocate the nascent recovery of the domestic tourism and hospitality sectors.

“We appeal to our president that our industry needs all the support it can get to recover from the devastating impact of previous restrictions, so that it can make a return to full employment. For many of our members, the current peak season is their last hope of getting back on their feet and the introduction of any restrictions on their ability to trade would be a crushing, final blow,” Alberts said.

 She said this included limitations on trading hours and the ability to serve alcohol. 

SA restaurants battled under alcohol bans and curfews

“Previous restrictions on alcohol sales have substantially reduced restaurant bookings as alcohol is considered part of the dining experience by many patrons, and they simply don’t eat out if denied the ability to enjoy a drink with their meal. This has a direct impact on the ability of restaurants to trade successfully,” Alberts said.

She added that any form of curfew would also affect restaurants during summer with no benefit of controlling the disease.

 “We have already seen the devastating effects of all the international cancellations due to the travel ban and when the threat of the new variant Omnicom hit South Africa unannounced at the start of our peak trading season Christmas parties and family bookings were cancelled, already having a dire effect on reducing staff levels and a number of restaurants reporting closures,” she said.

She said the industry was “well prepared” to ensure a safe and responsible season with compliance to all the Covid-19 health protocols.