Restaurant, alcohol sectors relieved not to have stricter COVID-19 restrictions

On Sunday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa annnounced the adjusted level 2 lockdown restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 as positive cases surged.

SAB beer crates are being gathered as Fenyane Bottle store prepares for alcohol sales, It will also be allowed again on the 18 August 2020. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10 pm. Vosloorus, Ekuerhuleni. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - There's relief for the restaurant and alcohol industries on Monday morning amid concerns over the slow pace of the vaccine rollout and worries about the unknown impact that the third wave will have on South Africa's already overburdened health sector.

On Sunday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the adjusted level 2 lockdown restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 as positive cases surged.

FULL SPEECH: Ramaphosa’s address to the nation

The curfew now starts at 11pm and ends at 4am in the morning, while no more than 100 people are allowed to gather indoors, with outdoor events limited to 250.

The National Liquor Traders Council was pleased with the president's decision to place no new restrictions on the industry which had already been heavily impacted by previous lockdowns.

The council's Lucky Ntimane said that allowing licensed businesses to continue trading reduced the opportunity for the illicit trade to flourish.

"We hope that this decision by government is a sign that they're taking a more scientific approach to managing the pandemic and will continue to do so in the future," he said.

The Restaurants Association of South Africa's Wendy Alberts was also relieved about the adjusted regulations which would allow responsible trading to continue amid the tough economic climate.

"We do not want any further economic losses caused or threatened job losses to our industry at this point in time and we need to do everything in our power to protect the recovery in the industry."

Restaurants will have to close by 10pm, however, to allow patrons and staff time to travel home before the 11pm curfew kicked in every night.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Siviwe Gwarube said that instead of placing more restrictions on the country, government should rather use the time to focus on rolling out vaccines before the third wave hits the country.

"We can ill afford to plunge South Africa into deeper economic ruin. This is now the time to ramp up the vaccination drive."

Ramaphosa said that more Pfizer vaccines were expected to arrive in the country soon.

WATCH: SA moves to adjusted alert level 2 of lockdown

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