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Confusion over sale of cooked food

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Business sizzled out for a popular supplier of a juicy piece of meat when the owner was informed by the police they they did not have the correct permit to operate under the Covid-19 regulations.

THE RESTRICTIONS relating to Level 4 lockdown has left many Kimberley residents confused about what is allowed and what is not, with some chancing their luck … until told otherwise.

One of the areas of confusion is the sale of hot, cooked food. According to the framework for Level 4 lockdown restrictions, the sale of hot, cooked food is allowed, but only for home delivery.

South Africa moved from Level 5 to Level 4 on May 1.

Many essential workers rely on takeaways, especially during working hours, and several outlets, especially the more informal operations, in the city have been doing a roaring trade selling cooked food to hungry workers. But for at least one supplier of a juicy piece of meat, all that came to a halt on Tuesday when the owner was informed by the police that they did not have the correct permit to operate under the Covid-19 regulations.

A member of the public pointed out that he was “amazed” to see the number of informal operations and even established businesses in the central business district selling cooked food to hungry customers waiting in line. 

“People are queuing in their droves to buy cooked food,” the resident said, referring specifically to an informal business selling braaied meat. “There are even police vehicles parked at one of the open-air premises, buying food.”

He pointed out that while he understood that people needed to make a living, what was good for one business, should apply to all. 

“Restaurants and even drive-throughs are not allowed to sell cooked food directly to customers. Instead those wanting takeaways have to pay a third party about R50 a time to have the food delivered to their house. Yet informal outlets and those that are not in the public eye, continue to do business as though nothing has changed. There is no social distancing here, everyone is just milling about waiting for their food.”

He added that he had reported the incident to the police. “Even the operator who took my call laughed and said that the police all support that particular outlet so the chances of it being closed down were minimal.”

Shortly after he reported the incident, however, police officials inspected the open-air outlet and requested to see its operating permit. The owner of the facility asked the police officials what he should do in order to operate and was told he needed to obtain a permit from the municipality. He was also informed that cooked food had to be delivered to customers.