Job losses & anxiety: CT business owners hope to survive lockdown

They’re desperate for the government to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol soon.


CAPE TOWN - Business owners have spoken of increased anxiety, sleepless nights and job losses as the sector clings on for survival.

They spoke to Eyewitness News as the effects of the COVID-19 induced lockdown continue to wreak havoc on their operations.

They’re desperate for the government to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol soon.

The alcohol ban and shorter trading hours mean fewer working hours for workers. This means far less money is coming in.

One man said that staff morale at his restaurant was low: “Depressed; they don't really want to be here. The vibe is not like it should be and they don't work in a team anymore.”

Another owner said that while he welcomed other interventions from the government to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, permanent job losses in the sector could not be ignored.

“Those 2 million is responsible for another 4 million, so you want to tell me that 200 trauma wards empty is more important than 2 million that provides for another 4 million?”

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Restaurant owners in Cape Town who’ve been affected by lockdown restrictions said that they did not know how long they would remain open.

Since the lockdown was imposed last year, thousands of workers have lost their jobs.

The ban on alcohol sales has also made things worse for many establishments.

Restaurant owners said that the ban on alcohol sales had left them with no choice but to lay off staff.

The hard lockdown, which started in March last year, had a devastating effect on Dario Mustarelli, owner of Italian restaurant Dario’s just outside of Cape Town.

“It's been very, very tough... less hours for our staff. Our turnover is down 15-20%, alcohol also."

A very despondent Mustarelli said that while his business barely survived the first lockdown, many others in the sector lost everything.

The alcohol ban remains in place as reinforced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address on Monday night.

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