Restaurant Collective plea to Government: please reopen restaurants on 12 July, even if without alcohol!



The Restaurant Collective, which includes restaurants such as Tasha’s and Ocean Basket, has called on Government to not extend the Level 4 Lockdown Sit-Down Restaurant closure from 12 July.

The Restaurant Collective is a voluntary association which is ‘a unified voice for positive change for the Sit-down restaurant industry in South Africa’.  Its members are predominantly Johannesburg based, in a province which is currently severely struggling with Covid case numbers.

Ocean Basket CEO and The Restaurant Collective spokesperson Grace Harding issued a media statement addressed to the Government last week, requesting different regulations to apply to Sit-Down Restaurants compared to bars, take-away outlets, shebeens, and night clubs.  She requested that Restaurants be allowed to reopen, given that strict Covid protocols are in place, even if it means not serving alcohol for the time being.

The Restaurant Collective media statement follows:

The plight of sit-down restaurants needs to be viewed separate to other types of eateries. It is an environment where people who know each other come in, sit down an enjoy a meal together. There is minimal walking around and social distancing is easier to enforce. The Restaurant Collective has COVID safety protocols in place and these will be re- enforced with immediate effect.

We respect and understand the dangers of covid. A sit down restaurant’s expenses surpass those of any other form of eatery. Thousands of restaurants have already closed down, and now we face true ‘chaos’/trouble as the expenses of running a restaurant far surpass any possible income that could be made from take aways. Rent cannot be covered, landlords are under pressure and we face major shut downs all over the country. There are over 35 000 sit down restaurants in SA – each employing an average of 30 people. The value chain of damage is devastating.

Our plea is not only about survival now, but the impact of this industry in the near future. If we do not open on Monday 12 July latest, the impact will be devastating. There is no TERS or other financial support for our crew who have no other form of income. Restaurant owners are scraping the bottom of the barrel. And we want to keep people safe.

Allow us to open. With a curfew in place. And if alcohol cannot be served for a short time, we will live with that. But at least let us open. We implore the government.’

Since the media statement was issued there has been talk that the Department of Labour will pay TERS/UIF to staff of businesses which have been forced to close their doors during the current Level 4 Lockdown. Sadly the Level 4 Lockdown is predicted to continue from 12 July, given that the Covid infection case numbers have not yet started to decline.  Most  restaurants are not finding Food Delivery and Collection to be financially viable, it costing more to operate than to close.


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide



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