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RASA to request review, shebeen owners welcome new COVID rules

On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that restaurants and bars will have to close at 10 pm.

FILE: You can buy alcohol only between 10 am and 6 pm from Monday to Thursday. Picture: 123rf.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The Gauteng Liquor Forum said although the new COVID-19 lockdown regulations would have a severe impact on taverns and shebeens this festive season, they had no option but to comply.

The forum represents about 20,000 tavern and shebeen owners in the province, which play a pivotal role in the hospitality sector.

On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that restaurants and bars will have to close at 10 pm.

You can buy alcohol only between 10 am and 6 pm from Monday to Thursday.

The forum's Thabo Modise said: “Even though we are given the time to turn, we will still manage to survive, there is nothing we can do for now.”

There's mixed reaction to the latest lockdown regulations announced by Ramaphosa as government tries to stall the second wave of infections.

All beaches along the Garden Route and Eastern Cape will be closed from Wednesday until 3 January while Durban beaches will only be closed on traditionally busy days like Christmas and new year’s.

Public health expert professor Alex van den Heever said Ramaphosa's restrictions on beaches might have been too harsh while the regulations around alcohol and the curfew were spot on.

“Overall, it was a proportionate response. I think the closure of beaches may create a problem but it is an understandable response at this point.”

Meanwhile, the Restaurants Association of South Africa (RASA) will be writing to Ramaphosa on Tuesday morning to ask for a review of the new COVID-19 lockdown curfew to allow staff to go home later.

Although the restaurant industry acknowledges that it’s a fine balancing act, the association's CEO Wendy Alberts said they needed more time to help the industry to survive.

“This curfew complicates trade for us and certainly minimises the ability to have extended turnovers and deep cleaning. It takes an hour for us to deep clean and sanitise to prepare for the next day. We need to get staff home by 11 pm now.”

Ramaphosa said the longer curfew would help with super-spreader events.

‘WC GOT OFF TOO EASILY’

Some residents are pleased with all the newly implemented measures, but others say the Western Cape, and the Cape Town metro in particular, got off far too easily.

With numbers rapidly climbing, and at least two events where COVID-19 protocols were blatantly disregarded, Ursula Juries said she could not understand why stricter measures were not imposed in the city: "People here don’t listen.”

She said beaches that side should’ve been closed: “There are going to be many people there, just like in KZN and they are not going to listen.”

Meanwhile, Venetia Spies from Parow said she understood why Cape Town had not been as affected as other areas.

“Business needs to go on. If business does not go on, we will not die from COVID, will die from hunger.”

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