Restaurant owners stage sit-in at Union Buildings to plead for the resumption of alcohol sales and the lifting of the curfew.
Pretoria – The Restaurants Association of South Africa has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the 9pm curfew and subsequent ban on alcohol sales before it results in the irreversible devastation of the industry.
Wendy Alberts, Chief Executive Officer of the Restaurants Association of South Africa, alongside a handful of restaurant owners began their sit-in at the Union Buildings today pleading for an audience with the president.
Alberts said they had planned a week-long sit-in to be granted an opportunity to hold an inter-ministerial meeting with the president in order to discuss a workable solution to save the industry immediately by lifting the curfew and allowing the resumption of alcohol sales in the country.
As it stood she said the restaurant industry was at a critical stage and simply could not continue as it had since the country was moved back to the adjusted level three of the national lockdown on December 28 amid a surge of Covid-19 infections.
Alberts said even though they had been notified that it would take up to 7 to 14 days for the matter to be dealt with, they would instead continue to stage their sit-in as every day lost impacted on more restaurants and livelihoods.
“We need to balance lives and livelihoods by looking at responsible ways to reopen the industry where we can also play our part. By not doing so we’re forcing the trade to go underground and back to house parties in uncontrolled spaces.”
“We are custodians of liquor licences so we can advocate responsibly and as it is we are able to do contact tracing and social distancing along with other regulations and protocols.”
Alberts said coming to the seat of the country was their last and desperate attempt to seek help for the industry as a deaf ear had been turned to the effects of the regulations on the industry.
“You can take a walk around most places and you will see that restaurants are standing empty. We are hovering around 40% to 50% of restaurants forced to close due to the restrictions and some of which will never be able to reopen.”