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Restaurant association warns against 'disastrous' hotspot liquor restrictions

03 December 2020 - 12:00 By unathi nkanjeni
The Restaurant Association of SA says another lockdown would be disastrous for the industry.
The Restaurant Association of SA says another lockdown would be disastrous for the industry.

The Restaurant Association of SA (Rasa) has expressed disapproval with possible liquor restrictions, saying it would be disastrous for the industry and economy.

This comes after reports that the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) was likely to implement tighter localised restrictions, including tighter restrictions on the sale of alcohol, to curb the spread of Covid-19 in hotspot areas of the country.

Business Day reported that the council met to propose that the government also reduce the maximum size of indoor gatherings and implement an earlier curfew.

News24 reported on Wednesday that the council agreed that a 10pm curfew be put in place in Covid-19 hotspots, alcohol sales be restricted from Monday to Thursday, and that bars and taverns close by 9pm.

The command council's recommendations will need to be approved by the cabinet before they can be implemented.

Speaking to Jacaranda, Rasa CEO Wendy Alberts said restaurants would be severely affected by the lockdown as the country moves into the festive season.

She said the association would challenge the restrictions, should they be implemented.

“We are certainly going to challenge any restriction that has been placed on the restaurant industry. We want all restaurants to let us know if any authority has been in touch with them in the last month advising them that there is Covid-19 in their establishment,” she said.

In a statement, Alberts said the association supported Western Cape premier Alan Winde's statement that local interventions should be based on scientific evidence.

“We must first do everything possible, through our individual and collective action to ensure the resurgence is rolled back and to prevent lockdown from ever having to be used again.” Winde had earlier said.

Winde added that the Western Cape would argue against a lockdown being imposed on the province and that the province was considering its own interventions.

“A lockdown will cause major job losses, and indeed a humanitarian disaster, and must be prevented at all costs,” said Winde.

“Our position remains that we need common-sense, targeted, and localised interventions that ensure that we protect our health-care system and reduce the spread of Covid-19, while ensuring that the economy remains as open as possible. And these interventions must be based on top scientific advice.

“This big push on behaviour change, with common-sense, targeted interventions linked to scientific advice, and increased enforcement of said interventions, is the best way we can get the balance between keeping the economy open and slowing the spread of Covid-19.”