Restaurants join hands as pandemic and lockdown damage hospitality industry

A nationwide 'Million Seats on the Streets' peaceful protest is set to take place on July 22 from noon.

17 July 2020 - 06:57 By Unathi Nkanjeni
SA restaurants are on their knees and are highlighting how the pandemic has affected the hospitality industry.
SA restaurants are on their knees and are highlighting how the pandemic has affected the hospitality industry.

Restaurants around the country have bemoaned the dire situation the hospitality industry is facing and the job losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and amended lockdown regulations.  

Some restaurants within the hospitality industry, including The Kitchen in Cape Town, Moo Moo in Centurion and Le Bon Vivant in Franschhoek, have taken to social media to share their concerns about the future of their industry since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Sunday in which he announced the reintroduction of the ban on the sale of alcohol “with immediate effect” and a 9pm-4am curfew.

The curfew means that all restaurant staff need to be in their homes by 9pm.

TimesLIVE reported that the Restaurant Association of SA (Rasa) said it was seeking legal advice on what action to take against the government's new regulations.

The association's Wendy Alberts said legal actions were based on the damages brought about through non-performance and restrictions on liquor licences and the regulations regarding the the curfew.

The association is organising a nationwide “Million Seats on the Streets” peaceful protest, set to take place next week, on July 22 from noon.

The owner of Le Bon Vivant restaurant, Le Bon Vivant, said the restaurant industry was in a state of collapse caused by the pandemic coupled with stringent lockdown measures.

“My restaurant has not been trading for nearly four months. You can’t come and have a socially distant meal and a glass of wine at my business. You and my staff have to be home by 9pm,” he wrote on Facebook.

“When is this ridiculous situation going to end? However, 16 million South Africans travel to and from work in a minibus taxi, shoulder to shoulder every day, no restrictions. UIF/ TERS ends this month leaving our staff with nothing.

“Add this to usbiness interruption insurance that almost all large insurance companies refuse to honour, while their policyholders are on their knees. If this situation doesn’t end soon, restaurants might not be there any more,” he added.

The restaurant industry is in a state of collapse. My restaurant has not been trading for nearly 4 months. You can’t...

Posted by Le Bon Vivant on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Under the hashtag #Jobssavelives, several restaurants have joined in to show how they have been affected by the pandemic.

Here is a snapshot of some of the posts.