Restaurants Fight Back Amidst Covid-19 Regulations
As lockdown continues and regulations become stricter, we have seen how the restaurant industry and the alcohol business alike are struggling to keep themselves afloat. The hashtag #jobssaveslives has been circulating around social media for the last week and while it is important to recognise the jobs that have been lost it is also important to understand the seriousness of Covid-19.
Restaurants Are Fighting For Their Livelihoods
The hospitality industry is what has helped make South Africa, especially Cape Town, one of the most coveted holiday destinations in the world. With restaurants facing strict lockdown regulations due to the coronavirus many are losing business, having to let go a lot of their staff and unfortunately many are permanently closing their doors.
The alcohol ban had been lifted in the beginning of June but as a spike in Covid-19 cases occurred, the government decided to act swiftly once again banning the sales of alcohol. Restaurants had not received the green light to serve alcohol during dine-in service but most places, looking for another way to supplement their income, have added a deli to their restaurants where they could sell alcohol and more goods.
However, this is not the only regulation that has the restaurant industry up in arms. Tables have to be moved at least 1.5 meters away from each other making it incredibly hard for the smaller restaurants to have enough patrons to turn a profit. The new 21h00 curfew also affects restaurants’ dinner service. Seeing as everyone has to be at home by 21h00, including staff, means restaurants can only serve dinner between 18h00-20h00. These hours make it impossible to garner enough business like they did prior to Covid-19 and makes it incredibly hard for the staff to travel back and forth.
Covid-19 Cases in South Africa On The Rise
As the coronavirus gets worse, the government comes down harder on the industry. Having to stop the sales of alcohol is a huge loss for shops, delis, and restaurants that were relying on an alcohol sales to keep their businesses alive. It also means that many have lost their jobs because they are not generating enough of an income. It is hard to say whether or not the alcohol ban is effective in pushing the number of Covid-19 cases down but it has undoubtedly eased pressure on hospital staff who are helping people fight for their lives.
The World Health Organization in the last week reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, with the total rising by 259 848 in a mere 24 hours. As of July 18th, the biggest increases in corona cases were from the United States, Brazil, India and, unfortunately, South Africa. The WHO reported 13,374 new cases from the 350,879 infections in South Africa. This increase in numbers is from this weekend alone.
Peaceful Protests Scheduled for This Week
Restaurant owners and restaurant staff will be joining together for a march on Wednesday, July 22nd protesting the government’s regulations. Restaurants not only have a cultural impact but help the economy in a large way, that is undeniable. Restaurants are more than just food, it is about a sense of community and connection with the people around you. During the age of corona, being around people has become a huge no-no for obvious reasons and this shift makes it hard for restaurants to keep themselves alive.
There will also be a peaceful protest organised by the #ServeUsPlease movement on Friday, July 24th starting at 10am. Their aim is to bring different industries together that have been affected by Covid-19 and the Government’s current gazette laws that are in play.
The movement wants to highlight the ripple effect the laws currently in place have. They want the government and the people of South Africa to see how it’s not just harming the hospitality industry, but they affect other industries that play a huge part in the country’s GDP too, such as wine farms, food producers, food and liquor distributors, etc.
How You Can Help Your Favourite Restaurant
As frustrations increase and more jobs are lost it is important to keep in mind that the easiest ways to save lives and avoid getting Covid-19 is social distancing, and wearing a mask out in public at all times. The good news is there appears to be no risk of contracting the virus by eating it, if you can, help your local restaurants by making donations to help pay their staff and by ordering food for take-away if you’re not comfortable leaving your home at this stage. If you are going out to eat and trying to support your favourite restaurants please remember that this is a critical time in everyone’s lives. Tip generously if you can, and keep showing support to your favourite restaurants, delis, cafes to help them make it to the other side.
Eat Out has set up The Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund that aims to provide financial support to restaurants to become operational, so they can keep providing food for the growing number of hungry families across South Africa. If you’re able to donate, please help those who need it most.
Click here to donate today: help.eatout.co.za/donate
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