Restaurant industry optimistic govt won’t impose strict regulations over Easter

The restaurant industry said the potential of shorter trading hours and other stricter regulations will further cripple an industry that's already on its knees.

FILE: The restaurant industry said the potential of shorter trading hours and other stricter regulations will further cripple an industry that's already on its knees. Picture: La Mouette Restaurant / Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – The Restaurant Association of South Africa has said it is optimistic that a year into the pandemic, it won't be at the receiving end of stricter regulations.

This comes amid talks of a possible third wave of COVID-19 infections and the fear that government might impose more stringent regulations ahead of Easter celebrations.

The restaurant industry said the potential of shorter trading hours and other stricter regulations will further cripple an industry that's already on its knees.

Though this would be done in efforts to help slow down the rate of transmission, industry role players said livelihoods in this essential sector need also to be considered.

The association's Wendy Alberts said they hope the right decisions will be made in the days, weeks, and months to come.

“I just hope that there are lessons that have been learned over the last year. Although we are no COVID experts, I think a year into it we certainly can for the scientific evidence as well as the proper actual research that should be taking place in terms of where the vulnerability sits – which I can assure is not in the restaurant sector.”

Alberts added that it wasn't just restaurants that were affected by the trade restrictions.

“The entire value chain, over the last 12 months, has been severely disrupted. This doesn’t only begin and end with the restaurant, the extended businesses and entrepreneurial services that we support is a mammoth amount of people that have been decimated over the last year. We have also seen how many thousands of restaurants that are iconic to South Africa have been closed on tourism that has not been able to recover.”

At the same time, the National Liquor Traders Council's Lucky Ntimane says an outright ban would not be sustainable for the sector that's already battling to keep its head above water.

“We are saying to government, allow us to trade but let us look at the issue of restriction. But we have seen from the research that was done by the industry that mobility plays a key part in reducing the number of transmissions. We think that the issue of curfew is something that the government needs to look at as a way to curb the spread of the virus.”

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